Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In which we discover Jennur's Horde is hard!


So with all the buzz about Guild Wars 2 these days, I've decided to return to Guild Wars 1, and see if I can work on my pathetically outfitted Hall of Monuments.  I already had a few points, as I've actually got one statue for completing the Factions campaign.  And I spent enough time running the Dajkah Inlet challenge mission to outfit four heroes, plus a pet, to place in my fellowship monument.  So I'm up to ten points.  The next goals I'd set for myself were to complete the Nightfall and EothN campaigns - both of which I have made numerous forays into, but have never actually completed.

So last night's adventure in Nightfall had me making attempts at a mission called Jennur's Horde. There is a description and walkthrough at that link.  The thing about this mission that makes it especially difficult is there are multiple paths to failure.  First, there are fairly large numbers of static mobs milling about in close proximity to one another.  If you're using minions, and pets, and/or henchies and heroes, then it's extraordinarily easy to aggro nearby groups, and to quickly find yourself overwhelmed.  And because it's a mission, party wipe means mission failure.  Second, there's the dreaded vulnerable NPC that must be kept alive.  He stays near the mission entrance, but every two minutes a group of mobs is spawned at the back of the zone, and starts making a bee-line to the NPC.  Miss that group of runners - let them get past you, and the NPC is quickly killed, and mission failed.  Finally, scattered throughout the mission are these deadly melee creatures called Harbingers.  Harbingers are immune to all of your forms of attack.  The only way they can be killed is to carry an item that is given to you, and drop it at their feet.  This makes it even more difficult for melee classes to complete, as most of theirs skills are turned off while carrying an object.  Thankfully I'm a caster, so I can still be effective while carrying things.  Oh - and to make it more interesting, for each of these Harbingers you kill, the size of the group that is spawned and runs towards the NPC gets larger.  Fun, right?

So there are several walkthroughs for this mission, and I definitely suggest reading them.  What I'm going to do is offer some additional tips on completing this solo, with heroes and henchmen.

Flag your group to the top of the stairs at the end of the hall
First, as the walkthrough suggests, it may be wise to leave the first two Harbinger's alone, so as to keep the runner group spawn size low.  I too definitely suggest this.  However, with a group of heroes, this can be easier said than done.  What I found worked for me was not to lead them through, but before you aggro the first harbinger, flag your heroes to the stairs at the end of the hall.  They will run past the harbingers, and through the static group at the base of the stairs, taking some damage, but that's okay.  Let them.  Hopefully, by the time you get to the top of the stairs, you'll be beyond the leash range of the second harbinger, he'll run back to his spawn location, and you can finish off the static group.   One note here - I definitely recommend waiting for and killing the first running group before you drop the Light of Seborhin at the harbinger at the top of the stairs and kill him.  If you kill him right away, the first run group will run and attack the Spirit of Seborhin, and trying to kill them will mean you will almost certainly also aggro one of the static groups at the top of the stairs.  This can get pretty ugly pretty quickly.

Once you have your beachhead at the top of the stairs, from this point on, you want to practice a slow and methodical approach of alternating between killing static groups and runners.  This is not a mission that you want to rush through.  But there are times when you need to hustle.  Essentially, you kill a running group, then immediately kill a static group.  When you finish off the static group, return to the middle and wait for the next running group to intercept and kill.  If you're super fast, don't be tempted to take on two static groups between runners.  Rest up, mana up, and be patient.  And if you take too long killing a static group, then keep an eye out for that runner group, and be prepared to break off if need be and flag your heroes over in front of them to intercept.  If a single runner group gets by you, the mission is all but assured to be failed.

Figuring out which order to tackle the static groups was tricky for me, and again took me a couple of attempts to get right.  Especially if you're going for the Masters reward, and want to get the two Harbingers and their groups up the stairs to the right and left of the center chamber.  The order that worked for me is that pictured here.  Clearing these floor groups before attempting the stairs helps in not accidently aggroing them when attempting the stairs, plus if you have to break off and race across the floor to intercept a running group, it's much easier if the floor has been cleared of enemies.

Among Nightfall missions, this one definitely stands near the top for me in terms of difficulty.  But like all things that present a challenge, there's a huge sense of accomplishment when the Master's Reward double-sword and spear sing across the symbol.  If you're just returning to Nightfall or Guild Wars and your travels take you through this mission, I hope these tips help you out some.  And don't get discouraged if the walkthrough's you read were written in.. say.. 2006.  We tackle our MMO's when we're darn good and ready by gawd!