Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guild Wars 2 - Southsun Cove Survival Guide

Welcome to Southsun Cove! A tropical paradise with miles of pristine sandy beaches, spectacular coral reefs for diving, and face-eating crab monsters!  So the Southsun Cove Living Story is in full swing, and we're all descending upon the newly revamped zone to help the settlers get resettled and to put down the frenzied wildlife.  And for many of you, this may well be the first time you've been to the southern isle.  And if this is your first time, you might have found yourself in for a unpleasant surprise, because Southsun Cove is, without question, the most difficult general PvE zone in the game.  The monsters of Southsun have more hitpoints, hit harder, and use nastier abilities than those you'll find anywhere outside of a dungeon instance.  So if you've found yourself making trips back from the waypoint after taking on a single, general mob, I thought I'd throw together a few tips on the things to look for when fighting some of these nasty denizens.

This guy is always here!
Reef Rider
After arriving in Southsun Cove via Asura Gate, and familiarizing yourself with some of the locals, and perhaps even getting a drink or two down at the beach bar, probably the first example of local fauna you'll come across is this guy - the resident Reef Rider, terrorizing the locals at the Sunset Pavillion.  You'll find Reef Rider's scattered throughout the Dappled Shores. You'll notice that, unlike the other Wind Rider derivatives you've previously encountered, Reef Riders have lots of hitpoints.  Other than that, they're not too bad.  The main thing to be aware of is that their projectile attack steals boons from you. This can be especially dangerous for a Guardian, as they'll steal retaliation right off of you.  Projectile blocking abilities will shut these guys right down.

Vet Reef Rider with Projectile Reflection
Shield up
Veteran Reef Rider
The slightly larger cousin to the Reef Rider, the Veteran Reef Riders add their own projectile reflection ability  to their bag of tricks, so Rangers beware!  They also add a spinning charge type attack that inflicts a good amount of damage if you get backed up against the wall.  The biggest danger with Reef Riders is there are so many of them.  You'll be finishing off one and then find you've aggroed several more over your shoulder.

Two stacks of Confusion, taking
Confusion damage!
Reef Drake
The ordinary looking Reef Drake is another example of a mob that is easily underestimated.  The Reef Drake's spin attack inflicts confusion.  In fact, all of his attacks inflict confusion, and it's not difficult at all to get four to six stacks of confusion on yourself in short order.  Condition removal is very helpful, though against a single mob, sometimes you can just dps him down while soaking up the confusion damage.  But if you get two or more mobs on you, it can turn very deadly very quickly.

If there is a Veteran Reef Drake variety, I have not encountered it.  There is a brood mother that roams Southsun Strait.

Young Karka webbing inflicts Cripple!
Young Karka
By far the most prevalent mob found though out Southsun Cove is this little scourge.  Individually, they're not too bad.  They have a projectile attack that inflicts cripple, and their basic attack inflicts weakness.  They don't have that many hitpoints (comparatively) and will go down pretty quickly.  But as is the case with all the Southsun creatures, there is always another one close by, and if you're running about, it's not uncommon to find yourself fending off three or more.  Use projectile reflection to shut them down, and beat them down.

Veteran Young Karka
You mostly encounter these in events, and often in the Crazed variety.  Besides being slightly larger, they add a trample ability that will knock you down to their list of abilities.

Like the Triffid, this variety of Veteran Karka
shoots poison that kills!
Veteran Karka
Make no mistake, the Veteran Karka are the masters of the island.  They roam the Scoured Plains and dominate Seashell Hills, and you'll encounter them quickly enough as you traverse the isle.  At first you're all - oh, just a veteran mob - no problem, I can take these guys!  Don't be fooled! Occasionally, a kiting master like a ranger or elementalist can take one down if they do everything right and get lucky, but mostly, you'll almost always need at least two or three people to bring one down comfortably.  So why's that?  Because they're downright nasty!

This Vet Karka has just spewed a stream of
hatchlings - and they're headed my way!
The first thing to be aware of there are actually two varieties of Veteran Karka, though they are named exactly the same.  One of these shoots immobilizing projectiles, and spawns eggs that quickly hatch into Karka Hatchlings, which latch onto you, inflicting blindness, cripple, and weakness, as well as the normal, damaging attacks.  The other shoots exploding projectiles that leave poison pools, also immobilizes you, and will shoot a projectile that dumps all of it's current conditions directly on you. If all that wasn't enough, this variety has a rolling dashing attack that will pretty much one-shot you if you are unfortunate enough to be in its path, and both varieties have a high, leaping attack that evades everything while they're in the air, and when they land inflicts a double knockdown.

I'm taking retaliation damage! I need to strip
that boon, or at least stop attacking!
The second - and probably the absolute most important thing - to be aware of are the boons these guys carry.  They all start with Armored.  Which essentially means you have to kill them twice.  While they're armored, they cannot be knocked down, rooted, or snared in any way.  Additionally, they also gain Stability, and most damaging - Retaliation.  If you are slamming the mob and getting pummeled with numbers that have the fist icon behind them, stop attacking!  Strip that boon!  More than anything else, when fighting these mobs, you must watch their boons, and strip them off as much as you can.  And often even if you do they'll immediately re-apply it, so keep at it.  The Armoured boon cannot be removed - it only goes away after you drain the mob's hitpoints down to zero the first time.  Then his hitpoints restore, and the boon drops.

Get if off of me!  I can't see!
Getting Rid of the Crabs
Inevitably, when fighting these mobs, you'll find yourself with one or more nasty face-hugger crabs attached to uncomfortable spots of your body.  These guys inflict a variety of conditions, but they can't be removed by condition stripping abilities.  Typically though, a good dodge roll will take care of the pesky buggars.

Other Mobs
There are a variety of other mobs found throughout the zone - Reef Skelks lurking in the holds of wrecked ships, Skale roaming through the many streams and rivers, and a variety of underwater life.  These though are mostly of the mundane variety, and shouldn't pose any more threat than they do elsewhere.

Final Words: Icon Awareness
When you first got to Orr, you learned the importance of condition removal. Those mobs poison, root, snare, and knock you down in a variety of ways.  When you get to Southsun Cove, the designers are using the mobs here to teach you something new.  Now it's not enough to just see what conditions are applied to you, but it's absolutely imperative that you see what boons the mob has, and to get rid of them.  More than any other general PvE zone, you  have to watch those boon and condition icons, be aware of what's happening, and take action to prevent it.

Hope that helps you in your endeavors in Southsun Cove, and enjoy your stay!

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