Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pardon Me But Your Tail's On Fire - A Trip to The Facility With Braham and Rox: GW2

Should have known better than to try and play an MMO on launch day. Just as I was reducing the size of my new Dwarven Cleric's nostrils in the Neverwinter character creator the screen froze and that was that for two hours. Eventually a new launcher installed itself and with my cleric restored I tore through the tutorial only to find the city of Neverwinter rubberbanding like Bouncing Boy at a Flubber convention.

Enough of that. Back GW2, which was having its own issues. The Molten Alliance was understandably reluctant to open its doors to thousands of loot-hungry adventurers and for a while no-one could get into the new dungeon. That got fixed in fairly short order and while I was standing gawping at the entrance in Wayfarer's Foothills someone popped me a group invite so in I went.

Spoilers follow, although not many because most of the time I wasn't all that clear on what was going on, what with taking screenshots, trying to clear bag space for the torrent of trivial loot and trying not to be set on fire.

To open proceedings Rox operated a tunneling machine she must have twocced from the Iron Legion to dig through the mountain into the Supervillain Lair weapons facility. Along the way we passed a bunch of rooms with mining nodes inside, all of which gave up Mithril and the new Azurite gems. These are on a 24-hour per account timer but their placement is such that they could probably be reached duo or even solo, allowing for a few deaths along the way.

That's as far as you'll be going without a full group because the rest of the dungeon is, well it's a dungeon. It was designed by the Holiday Content team not the dungeon team and since we completed it with a PUG, none of whom had done it before or seemed to know anything at all about it, I'd say it's probably not the most challenging of dungeons but it was challenging enough for my tastes.

There's a longish bit where we got to stand in as targets for a demented Dredge weapons tester. That was fun but it went on too long. Once you've dodged a couple of waves of fire you've dodged them all, I say. After that there was another long part where we freed prisoners, all of whom trundled along behind us adding little to the proceedings.

We made our way deeper into The Facility while many, many Molten Alliance drones tried and failed to stop our progress along the winding but linear route. It would be hard, probably impossible, to take a wrong turning of more than a few paces. There are no turnings. There are a few mild jumps to be made. The drop looked terrifying but no-one in our party fell. I imagine you can just waypoint back.

We met a Champion who had a small chest...let me rephrase that... we fought a Champion and when we defeated him we got to loot a small chest nearby. I guess that makes him some kind of a sub-boss. Finally we reached a massive platform above another sheer drop into darkness. The Molten Alliance have no concept of health and safety. They might as well be Asura. Would it have hurt them to put up a guard rail?

 At this point two comedy Bosses appear. One's a cat with an electrified waste-paper bin on each paw and the other is a mole dressed as Iron Man. Both blown up to gargantuan proportions, of course. No explanation how this has been done is forthcoming. I guess they feed them well down there in the mine.

They might look like a pair of pantomime villains but these two were rough. Until this point I hadn't even been downed but they soon sorted that out. There's supposedly some mechanic where you switch from one to the other as they hit various percentages of their hit points but no-one paid any attention to that. We just hared round and round, dodging and rolling and frantically reviving teammates. Rox and Braham went down early and stayed there. Fat lot of help they were.

We got the mole down. Actually it was more like up. He had a jetpack and it must have malfunctioned as he died because he shot off like a punctured balloon. With him out the way you'd think it would have gotten easier but Wastepaper Bin Paws got a second wind and it must have taken at least twice as long to finish him off.

He crumpled up at last and we got the requisite Huge Chest, which had some odd loot inside. I got a 400 skill recipe for Mushroom Loaf and an Insignia to make a piece of the new armor. I have crafters that can use both so I was happy enough but there were mutinous growls from some of the party.

Even then we weren't done. We had to grab some explosive charges and do some more jumping across bottomless pits to place them, then we had to leg it to the lift in 30 seconds before the whole place blew. We all made it, even Braham and Rox and the freed miners.

We emerged on Diessa Plateau, stood around blinking in the daylight wondering what had happened, then said our "thanks for the group" formalities and disbanded. The dungeon is only here for about two weeks and I need to do it at least once more to complete the meta achievement for Flame and Frost on my other account. I might well also need to do it a time or two with Mrs Bhagpuss for hers. That shouldn't be too arduous. It was fun, although I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.

A visit to see Rox interrogating the Molten Alliance prisoners down in the Black Citadel pokey followed. I recommend talking to all of them, especially the Veteran Dredge. There is More To This Than Meets The Eye. My money's been on The Consortium turning out to be the master villains of the piece for a while now and the conversation I had with the mole just adds to my suspicions.

The evening wrapped up with a trip to Hoelbrak to see Braham mouth off at Knut Whitebear again. From the way the conversation went I'm guessing Cragstead will be staying as a permanent settlement. I hope so. It would be weird if it just disappeared as though it had never been, although come to think of it that's how it arrived.

So that's Flame and Frost. I wonder what comes next?


  1. Lighting a bonfire somewhere I think. :P

  2. I looked at a friend play Neverwinter. Just by observing him, the combat looked so clunky and stationary. I've always leaned towards action-oriented combat. GW2 has spoiled me with their incredibly fluid combat, I don't think I'll be able to sink my teeth into another MMO which prioritizes numbers over movement.

    The Molten Facility boss was a TON of fun though. I ran it with my guildie/friends. Between the banter, the quips, and the puns, the boss fight itself was incredibly active and fun. Almost Mario-Party-esque (as one of my friends pointed out.) I loved it.

    However, I will say I am thoroughly disappointed none of your screenshots have quotable quotes. No one said anything funny? That's like, half the reason why I frequent this blog, man!


    1. Heh! I threw it together just before midnight and I had to be up at 6.30am for work. I actually had captions in mind for some of the shots but I just didn't have time to get them in. As for conversations during the actual fights - it was a PUG. Nuff said!

      I really don't like action combat. I can do it if I have to but I'd rather not. On the other hand I don't like being nailed to the floor, either. GW2 is about the right compromise for me most of the time but even there dungeons get too actionny on occasion. I'd like to be able to move freely but to do without all the dodging and rolling, that'd be ideal.


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