Friday, February 15, 2013

Dungeon Day Alert: GW2, DCUO

Yesterday turned out to be Dungeon Day. I hadn't planned it that way but it didn't come quite out of the blue. A trip underground had been on the cards since February's Monthly added "Dungeon Participation" to the chore list.

Since launch, hordes of ill-tempered adventurers and dungeoneers have found themselves conscripted into the War in the Mists to get their 50 "Monthly WvW Player Kills", something I can usually knock off in a session or two of normal play. Turnabout is supposed to be fair play, so I didn't complain too much when the addition of Fractal dungeons to the game at the end of last year brought with it a requirement to do seven of the irritating hoop-jumpers, a demand I grudgingly complied with the first month it appeared and then said "never again".

I would have been quite content to ignore monthlies altogether had the Laurel system not been thrust upon us. I didn't really need the rewards we'd been getting before then. Every Jug of Karma I've ever received is still sitting undrunk in my bank, every Mystic Coin has gone unspent. Laurels, however, are  different matter. Until some other means of obtaining them appears, they come one at a time via a Daily drip-feed. The Monthly completed brings another ten. If you want to buy anything worth having, and there's quite a lot in that basket, you can't really afford to be picky about what you do to get them.

Golems. They look funny but no-one's laughing.
Looking on the not-really-very bright side, at least we're only being tasked with completing five dungeons. We had to knock out seven Fractals, although I ended up attempting at least twice that many before I finally got the damn thing done. Also, Dungeons are at least in some fashion integrated into the world, not something bolted on as an all-too-obvious makeshift patch when the good ship Progression sprang a leak. Against that, GW2 Dungeons have a very poor reputation both as examples of the form and as any kind of entertainment.

The only time I'd done one before was when I'd assisted Mrs Bhagpuss in the completion of her ranger's Personal Story. That was Arah, the level 80 dungeon. It went on a bit and a lot of it was watching cut-scenes, or at least that's how I remember it. This time I thought I'd start at the other end and do the start of the Story in Ascalonian Catacombs. If I took one of my level 80s and joined one of the PUGs that are almost always recruiting for it when I'm in Plains of Ashford it should be a doddle.

So it was, just a few minutes after logging in yesterday morning that my level 76 Thief entered The Crucible of Eternity, the penultimate dungeon, recommended level 78. I don't know why! Someone was LF1M for it while I was banking in Lion's Arch and I wasn't really awake yet. These things happen.

He is. I'm not.
It took a long time. A long, long time. Over two hours. I think three of the group already knew each other, one had done the dungeon before and I was the only one under 80. It was a pleasant group, as all PUGs I've had in GW2 have been, good-humoured and patient for the most part. Just as well since the first pull was a full group wipe.

It got better after that and we progressed to about half-way through the dungeon, set in a dizzying descent through an Asuran research facility known by the not very reassuring name of The Infinite Coil Reactor. As a Thief I didn't have much to do other than try to hurt stuff and not die. I used the Shortbow a lot. No-one complained.

We got hung up for a long while on some annoying Inquest gnomes Asuras with heavy golem back-up who blocked the stairs while firing incredibly annoying balls of light from their high-tech rifles that followed you no matter where you dodged. After many deaths and an extortionate repair bill we managed to split them up and whittle them down. After that it was plain, if very stately sailing.

The dungeon has a bit of a horror movie ending. Just 'cos you've killed the main villain don't think it's over, that's all I'm saying. Also, Bosses that have a "Kill Shot" ability that one-shots anyone are cheesy. Always have been, always will be. All in all it wasn't too bad. Far too long but that was probably because we weren't very organised. The story was about as engrossing as your average Saturday morning cartoon, there was an admirable absence of dance-steps to learn and I got a hat.

Guys! Wait for me! I was just knocked out!
Four more to do over the next two weeks, then. Not too terrible a prospect and I can't have had that bad a time because late last evening I was in another dungeon. Sort of. Super heroes don't really do dungeons. They do "Alerts". This one was on the Moon.

Yes, I seem to be playing DCUO again. Not sure why other than it's just a lot of fun. In short bursts. Why was I doing an Alert with a character I barely remember how to play within minutes of logging in? Furniture, that's why. I have a Base that needs decorating and since Ikea doesn't appear to have reached Metropolis yet it seems the only way to get a coffee table is to fly to the Moon and steal one. Oh wait, we're super-heroes. Confiscate one. That's probably what we're doing...

It's okay guys, If I don't know my way back by now...
In space no can hear you scream, which suits DCUO PUGs just fine because no-one ever speaks. Hardly surprising since DCUO has the worst chat interface ever seen in a major (or minor) MMO. Also just as well because all I would have heard would have been "Who's the idiot in the clown suit and why is he dead all the time?".

Luckily we had a level 30 slumming it in this (I think) level 18 recommended Alert. Other heroes came and went, a Green Lantern clone rolled "Need" on everything and then left half-way through. On the scorecard at the end he was flat bottom in everything so, nice run for him. I was second from last but at least I had the self-awareness to roll Greed, although only because no furniture dropped.

It's behind you!
By the final boss I was beginning to remember how the controls worked and what my abilities were. At least I made it through the last couple of fights alive. The whole thing took maybe twenty minutes and was fun all the time, even when I was being repeatedly pummeled to the ground.

You dancing? I'm asking.
Now that I come to think of it, perhaps the villains targeted me because I was dressed as a circus clown they were driven berserk with envy over my Valentines Day finest. When I logged in I had mail and in the mail were Valentine's presents which brought a flurry, even a blizzard of unearned "Achievements" and the most ill-considered "romantic" leisure-wear I have ever seen. Let's not mince words - it's a clown suit. Someone in the SOE art department doesn't have a date for Valentine's this year, I'm guessing.

So there you have it. What does it take to get me into a dungeon these days? Bribes, basically. But once I'm in there it's kinda fun. I guess that means I'll be going again.


  1. If you want to get the GW2 monthly done quickly, Ascalonian Catacombs and Citadel of Flame explorable paths 1 and 2 are a lot shorter than the story modes, not too much harder, and have a lot of groups doing them. (Many CoF path 1 groups are speedrunners who only want an optimal party composition, so you'll probably want to avoid those)

    1. Ah thanks for the info. I would like to do the stories once each eventually but at the moment whatever takes the least time would be good. On Yak's Bend there are often parties looking for people for AC explorable - I'll give that a try.

  2. Hello Bhagpuss!

    I pretty much run dungeons everyday. If you just want to knock out the dungeon completions, I'd be glad to help you, perhaps over the weekend.


    1. That's very kind! Not sure if we'll be able to organize it but if we can Mrs Bhagpuss and I might give you a whisper if we can guest on Crystal Desert. Is Ursan your character/account name?

    2. It is Ursan.7846. Feel free to hit me up whenever.

      Just a note, you don't have to guest in order to dungeon together. So no need to worry about guesting.



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