Kasul and I are going through our list of hard mode dungeons and clearing them out before continuing with the Heavensward storyline. There hasn’t really been a reason to do these dungeons before now. Since the launch of the expansion, superior gear is easy to come by, so the dungeon won’t offer any upgrades. And, I found out, once you’re post level 50, you don’t even get any experience. So, no experience and no upgrades means very little incentive to queue up for a dungeon.
But, there’s the challenge :) We mostly had fun doing the four dungeons of the evening; Hullbreaker Isle, Sastasha (Hard), Wanderer’s Palace (Hard), and Stone Vigil (Hard).
I learned early on that the moment I explain to the party that I have never tanked a particular dungeon, that some DPS will decide that I have somehow just asked them to run ahead and pull. Also, being new to a dungeon means that the DPS have to play a game where if the tank is hitting something, they must immediately switch to another mob and unleash all their cooldowns to ensure I lose aggro on these other mobs.
I haven’t gotten the memo when I’ve been playing DPS, but maybe perhaps that’s because I haven’t played a DPS class in a hard mode. I should give it a shot, get a screen shot of the popup window telling me to avoid the tank, run ahead, and try to draw aggro or force the tank to use all her MP casting Flash over and over.
I got so mad at the DPS. They’d never talk, just silently diss me.
Hullbreaker Isle was pretty fun, I think the highlight of the night. Lots of mobs from Bloodshore, as well as a smattering of types from Brayflox. Black mage disconnected toward the beginning; the rest of us started clearing trash toward the first boss while waiting for him to return. When he did return (and thanked us for not kicking him), Kasul and I headed back to get him, while the ninja ran forward and started soloing a couple groups of trash. He suddenly realized that Kasul and I were no longer obediently following him and dragged them all back down to us. Though he had only a sliver of health remaining, Kasul kept him alive and I taunted everything off him.
You would THINK he would slow down after that. You would be wrong.
First boss was a gorilla with a taste for bananas, and tricksy lemurs that wanted them all for themselves. Second boss had bubbles you jumped into. The final boss was THE KRAKEN! LET LOOSE THE KRAKEN! We had to jump from islet to islet killing tentacles, or rather, the ninja did. The rest of us just did things our slow way, and eventually THE KRAKEN!!! returned to Poseidon.
Plenty of deja vu in Sastasha, hard mode. The dungeon is much the same as normal mode. Captain Madison has overdosed on his HGH (human growth hormone) and is now a larger, but just as cowardly, version of his own bad self.
First boss would randomly stun me so that I could not stun away the attack that would smoosh another player. Frustrating. Second boss was the Captain, lots of adds. And then — THE KRAKEN! LET LOOSE THE KRAKEN! Yeah, same boss as Hullbreaker, but the tentacles weren’t as much fun. Though hentai fans would probably have a field day. I don’t think either of the DPS were terrible this time.
Wanderer’s Palace (Hard) was Kasul’s favorite dungeon of the night. The map was a simplified version of the normal mode map. We had a bard. Like most bards, he managed to stay entirely unaware of the actual battle he was in, and thought he was in a battle where you ignored the mechanics and stayed on the boss and tried to stay far away. At least he wasn’t like that bard I got in Brayflox last night who thought that every encounter required running around in circles, drawing adds, while focusing on a single mob and ignoring fight mechanics. That same bard also asked if we could rest after every fight so that he could regain MP lost from singing a song that benefited precisely nobody but decreased his already low DPS. But enough complaining about bards.
First boss required DPS to kill spears launched into the ground that boost the boss’ burn attack. We wiped because the DPS was not killing the spears, even though I said at the outset, kill the spears. Second attempt, I dragged the boss to the frickin’ spears and started killing them myself, and hey, they don’t have much health, it was EASY to keep them cleared! DPS got the hint and we flew through it after that.
Second boss had a roguelike mechanic where the totems could have a good or a bad effect. All you have to do is go to a totem, see what effect it has, and if it’s a good one, say that such and such a color was good, or alternately, such and such a color was bad, and we should let the boss take that one. The DPS was, as usual, shackled by a silence spell and could not report on the effects of the totems. I don’t know how we survived that fight. Maybe at some point we could try acknowledging the fight mechanic instead of just always “lock DPS on boss and ignore whatever else may be happening in the room”, which seems to be the default mode for DPS.
Last boss was similar to the dragon in Brayflox normal mode; just had to keep kiting him around the edge of the room. Kasul easily kept up with the DOOM mechanic. DPS eventually understood they had to kill the Sacred Idol when it spawned.
The cut scene at the end was precious :) All the tonberries that had been enslaved by their Sahagin tormentors came with their little knives and cut up the final boss.
Stone Vigil (Hard) was dungeon where the DPS decided they didn’t need to understand the mechanic; just choose a target and mush buttons until the enemy dies or you do. Like the normal mode dungeon, there were interesting little encounters in the corridors that were as memorable as the boss fights. The dragon that would randomly pop up to nuke you in normal, now stays and fights. The sprite traps are replaced with flocks of dragonlings — building up to a mini-encounter where dragonlings swarm over the parapet while you drive away another dragon with cannons.
First boss was similar to normal mode first boss; keep behind the boss. New to this encounter were adds that buff the boss if he is too near them when they die. We wiped first time because DPS weren’t sure what they should do with these adds (KILL THEM? MAYBE?) or maybe they expected me to grab them, even though the fight mechanic is that I have to be far away from the adds so clearly I am not going to be killing them. I did explain this at the start, but the silent DPS just stared in wonderment at the flapping of my Miquo’te mouth and marveled at the sounds that spouted forth. What could they mean?
Second try, everyone got the point, and we easily won.
Second fight was a room with four cannons. You’re supposed to help out everyone else, clearing their adds before returning to the boss, and interrupting his room-wide attack. Again, it took a fail before people understood that there is a mechanic to the fight, and it does need to be followed.
Last fight was straightforward, pretty much a tank and spank. Except not so much on the tanking. Even though I kept aggro throughout, the boss would ignore me and go attack someone else. Not the DPS fault this time. More fun happened when the boss cloned himself. But, we didn’t have any particular trouble with it, since the mechanic here was “just target the boss and keep mashing those keys!”. Right up the DPS’ alley.
When we compared notes afterward, I said I liked Hullbreaker best, and Kasul enjoyed Wanderer’s Palace (Hard) the best. While writing the night up just now, I came around to Kasul’s view — Wanderer’s Palace was just more atmospheric and more fun all around.
We have another night or two of hard modes to do. Kasul hasn’t bought Heavensward yet, so I’m a little ahead in levels (52 now) and in Heavensward. My 52 paladin quest requires me to go to a zone to which I do not yet have access; I guess it is story locked. Since I don’t want to get ahead in the story, I’ve put paladin on hold for a bit, and started a dark knight. While still working on leveling the Monk so that I can get my second DoW title.
Did my first dungeon run — Halatali — as a dark knight last night. I’d made some HQ plate gear with my armorer so that I’d have SOMETHING. Run went pretty well. I am used to, as I’ve said, the sort of easy mode tanking you get with being a paladin. I haven’t started boiling down the DRK mechanics into macros, so there was a lot of hunting and pecking as I tried to keep up with the appropriate abilities and cross-class actions from my warrior and paladin jobs. Defense seems, at this point, to be a weak point, but we’ll see how it goes.