Sunday, March 17, 2013

Guild Wars 2 - Honor of the Waves - Story Mode


Our group has been working their way through all of the dungeons in story mode, so this is now the sixth one I've completed, and it only occurred to me yesterday that I haven't written a blog on a single one - which arguably makes me the worst MMO blogger evah!  I'll attempt to remedy that in the future, so we'll start with last night's dungeon - Honor of the Waves.


We ran this one twice last night, and though the first run had a few hiccups along the way - mostly because it was the first time in the dungeon for all of us - we finished successfully without too much mishap.  And the second run went smooth as butter, without a single wipe from beginning to end.  Also, sadly, out of two runs, I didn't take nearly enough screenshots to make a decent guide, so you'll have to endure with mostly must my written description.

Honor of the Waves is the name of one of the Kodan Sanctuaries, which are essentially cities built into and on top of giant floating glaciers, and are in my opinion some of the coolest looking content in the game. This one is sinking, and the Voice - the spiritual leader of the Kodan tribe, is under assault by a lieutenant of Jormag - The Huntsman, and is being driven mad.  The Claw of the Tribe, along with Eir and Caithe, have enlisted the help of your party to attempt to save The Voice.  It is a fool's errand, as Caithe tells Eir, but Eir is so distraught at her inability to reconcile the gulf between herself and the rest of Destiny's Edge, she is willing to take on any task - even a suicidal one.
The Corrupt Ice Shard
After the opening cutscene, a short staircase leads to a set of double doors, which will promptly open, and a stream of icebrood and elementals will come pouring out.  Hang back a bit, and clear out this first wave.  Our first party, following my (poor) advice, which was gleaned from other guides, tried to force our way in and only focus on the Shard, and we were overwhelmed and had to start over.  Take long enough to defeat that first wave, and then enter the room with the ice shard, and focus down the shard.  Yes icebrood will spawn continuously while the shard exists, but they don't spawn so fast that you shouldn't clear them out a bit.

Once you defeat the shard, the chest will appear, and the door leading into the next area opens.  Be careful here though.  Stepping even a little bit past the chest will aggro the Champion Icebrood Seer that awaits you just beyond, and it's quite likely you'll find yourself in combat while a midst looking over your loot. Either just pull the champion into the room and deal with him, or be careful to not go past the chest until everyone is ready.
The next area is a bit confusing, but essentially you'll follow the passage up and around.  You'll meet a group of trash mobs at the top of a staircase - pull them back down to the bottom of the stairs and fight them below.  Once you get to the top of the stairs, a bridge leads across the area you just came up from, and towards the chambers of the Voice.  Quite a few trash mobs (including elites) patrol the opposite side, so pull them back across the bridge and clear them a bit at a time.  Once the opposite shore is clear, cross over and enter the chambers of the Voice.

Kulag the Fallen
One of the tribe's elder warriors has already been corrupted by Jormag, and informs you that the Voice is now the prey of the Huntsman.  She has already fled the chamber, and you are left to face him.
Kulag can be a pretty tough fight, especially for melee.  His biggest threat are the multiple ice spikes he places all around the tight chambers that he is within.  You'll see multiply stacked AOE rings, and once they land, they leave a frozen patch that continues to do both damage over time as well as re-apply chill over time.  We found that, surprisingly enough, ranged can stand just at the bottom of the stairs where you enter the room and hit him safely throughout the battle, and mostly avoid the rings altogether. If melee fight him in the center of the room, you'll notice the AOE rings are typically one side of the room or the other.  Dodge roll forward or towards the opposite ramp from the one you're fighting on, away from the AOE rings.  I would not suggest ranged move into the room and spread about the back sides of the room, as the AOE ice spikes will literally go all the way to the walls.  

After you defeat Kulag, you go back the way you came, and back across the bridge.  A champion Icebrood Goliath awaits you on the other side, and a few lieutenants.  Make sure everyone gets across the bridge double time, and fight him in the area on the opposite side of the bridge.  

Hirvela the Lost
Entering the next area will bring you back into the Gallery of Peace, and into the chambers of Hirvela the Lost - another one of the tribe elders that has been corrupted by Jormag.  Are you sensing a theme here?  Kulag the Fallen, Hirvela the Lost? Yes well you're right.  Both of our groups found Hirvela to be an easy fight.  You can melee him down safely, in fact this is a fight where the more melee the better, as he reflects projectiles, though honestly that wasn't much of a problem for us (our rangers just kept at it).  He does place conditions, so condition removal is useful.  At around 20% he will change forms, and become an Ice Beast.  Just keep wailing on him and he'll go down quickly.

Once you defeat Hirvela, you go through and down and around a narrow icy staircase, past a waypoint (yay!), and into a large icy chamber.  Across the floor of the chamber are groups of icy stalagmites - don't step on these.  Against the opposite wall is an ice door, and two torches.  As you near the torches, a number of icebrood trash mobs, including several elites, will spawn.  Light the torches, and then deal with the trash.  While you're fighting the trash, the door will melt away.  The important thing here is that just beyond the door are more groups of trash waiting for you, so be sure to not back through the door while you're fighting, and accidentally aggro the mobs waiting there.  While you're fighting these mobs, pay attention to the giant ice paths they lay across the floor.  Those things will explode, and not only knock you back, but do a ton of damage.  You can easily find yourself quickly downed by one of those.  As is always the case with these groups, be sure and call targets and make sure your group focuses on one elite at a time.  Those guys can be surprisingly resilient.

Once you've taken out the trash in the large chamber, pull the Elite Icebrood Hunters that await beyond the door through the door, and take them out (along with the non-elite trash that comes with them).  

Lani Winterfist
As you enter the next room, past some wooden columns, Lani Winterfist will scream something about you being too late, and flee the room and head into the next room - through a short corridor lined with ice turrets.  Obviously, don't follow him.  There are six turrets that line that corridor.  Use ranged to take out the first two.  Then use ranged to pull the trash mobs that lie just beyond, and Lani will come with them.  Pull Lani back into the room in which you're in, and fight him there.  That way you're out of the line of fire of the turrets, plus this room is larger and you have more room to dodge and to kite Lani around. 
Lani is a tough opponent.  He has a massive AOE attack that does decent damage.  He melees and hits quite hard, and he has a ice-breath AOE-cone attack.  Avoid the AOE rings, dodge out of his big windup attacks, and avoid his ice-breath.  All the while you're fighting him, non-elite trash mobs will spawn and join the fight.  The nice thing about the trash mobs is they make good revive mobs.  If you find yourself downed, see if you can find a trash mob close to death near you and target him and try to down him to get back up.  In all likelihood one or more of your party will go down in this fight.  Have one person kite Lani around, or use a pet to keep him busy, and get your crew back up.  This is a very active fight - lots of movement.  Stay on your toes! 

The Voice, the Huntsman, and His Pet
Once you defeat Lani, you'll enter the Sanctum of Justice, and at last, find the Voice.  Sadly though, you are too late, and The Huntsman (with terrible voice-over dialogue) transforms him, and you must fight him.  Sadly for the Voice, as far as boss mobs go, he's cake.  Just DPS him down.  It doesn't take long, and save your big cooldowns for the next fight.  

Upon the loss of the Voice, the Claw feels that he has failed.  But Eir recognizes that you only lose the fight if you refuse to fight on - and in a flash of inspiration draws parallels from the Claw's loss to her own situation, and in doing so finds the strength to carry on the fight to kill the dragon!  Thank the gods!
For the Huntsman and his pet, have most of your party just wait in the room where they killed the Voice.  Have one person move into the chamber, trigger the the short cheesy dialogue for the Hunstman, who will in turn summon his pet - Bane's Teeth.  Target Bane's Teeth, and pull him all the way back to the room where you fought the Voice.  The Hunstman will (should) drop aggro, and stay in his chamber, allowing you to focus down Bane's Teeth alone.  Even if he doesn't, focus on Bane's Teeth first.  Bane's Teeth is a drake, and has that drake PBAOE knockback attack they all share.  Additionally his breath attack leaves an AOE poison pool on the floor that remains for some time.  Stay out of the poison, use stability if you have it, and get him down.  Then return to the chamber and finish The Hunstman - Kodan's Bane.
It's possible to pull the Hunstman from his chamber as well, back into that same room, and it's a good strategy.  If you fight him in his room, you are fighting on a giant deck, and in the icy waters below the deck are a half dozen - that's right.. a half dozen champion ice sharks.  So you do not want to fall in. As this is an active fight, pulling him back out of the room means you can just avoid the worries about the sharks.

Supid Birds!
The Huntsman has some powerful melee attacks - but they are preceded by pretty big windups, so you can generally avoid them.  By far though his most annoying ability is that he summons flocks of birds that latch on to you, and drain a ton of your health.  You can evade roll and reduce some of the damage when they get on you, but mostly you just need to save your big #6 heal for when the birds get off of you and pop it as soon as they do.  Additionally, he places boons on himself often, so boon removal is a plus.  If you have a mesmer in your group, Arcane Thievery combined with Signet of Inspiration will rip those boons right off of him and then give them to everyone in your party.  Extremely handy!   
And you're done!  Watch the final cutscene, collect your loots, and take the prerequisite screenshot at the end of the dungeon!  One final tip - don't go after the sharks!  We did, just for fun.  They have zero loot, and are far more trouble than they're worth.  
Until next time, Good Hunting!