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The Aetherblade Retreat Dungeon

David North Posted:
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ArenaNet has filled the world of Guild Wars 2 with dangerous foes.  While players travel to stop these dark forces, new threats lurk in the shadows.  For every moment our backs are turned, these new forces gain more strength.  The Sky Pirates of Tyria now come out to challenge the might of Tyria’s greatest heroes. 

The Dragon Bash is coming to an end, and with the assassination case now closed, players will follow the culprit to a secret hidden lair.  It is here players will fight against a new enemy known as the Aetherblades.  Once inside the lair, you will see that you are in a series of caverns littered with wooden posts and old parts of wrecked ships that make up the pirates’ living quarters. 

Once outside you can see a storm over the high seas

As you fight your way deeper into the lair, you will notice small bits of technology.  At first it seems harmless.  You’ll see holographic projectors for pure entertainment at first.  But the deeper you go, you realize pirates aren’t the only threat you will face.  The Aetherblades have allies within the Inquest.

Overall the Inquest aren’t doing anything new.  The Aetherblades pose the real threat, dishing out knockdown and conditions.  The enemy groups are put together to coordinate their attacks so have your support skills at the ready.  Without them you may end up wiping a few times.

I really enjoyed the fights.  Having normal enemy encounters that made you think a bit more than usual is always great.  But the real fun comes from the boss fights.  The first one has players face off against some inquests.  The fight seems to be pretty normal, but once you thin the group down to just the leader, he will retreat into a strange device in the very center of the room that protects him from your wrath.

Golems will pop up, and from the protective device, laser walls shoot out, and move counter clockwise.  If you let the beam walls hit you, you’ll take damage.  If they hit the golem, it will receive buffs like a timed protective shield.  Your party will need to move along with the laser to bring down the golem.  But it doesn’t end there.  Two more golems show up, and a new set of laser walls circle the room.  These new walls move much faster, but don’t reach as high.  Players can use the stacked boxes to let the laser walls pass underneath them to avoid damage.  But don’t stand in one spot too long, or the second laser wall will hit you.

This was such a good battle.  It wasn’t just a simple hack and slash experience.  It got you moving around, keeping your attention more on your surroundings rather than your enemy.  It definitely was an interesting design, much like the previous Molten Weapons Facility.

You finally catch up with Mai Trin, the culprit for the assassination, but she’s not alone.  Nothing makes a better partner in crime than a battle hungry Norn.  Give that Norn a cannon to carry on his shoulder and you’re in trouble!  Mai starts to attack players, letting Horrik pick off members of your party with his cannon.  Now Horrik will stay in one spot, so controlling him isn’t an issue.  Mai has a protective shield around her, only allowing electrical attacks to get through.  Seems like a simple solution, take out Horrik and finish off the boss, right?  Do that and Mai will only revive her partner.  Players will have to use a different strategy.

As I mentioned, Mai has a shield that protects her from all non-electrical damage.  You need a way to knock out that shield.  That’s where the cannon blasts come into play.  By sticking close to Mai, she will be in the AoE range of Horrik’s cannon attacks, knocking out her shields allowing players to start dealing some real damage.

The next stage in the fight happens whenever you take out about 25% worth of Mai’s health.  Both bosses jump out and take control of cannons that they fire down at your party.  Each time this stage of the fight lasts longer.  The final time will last about 90 seconds, so get get ready to dodge.  Once Mai is down, she will surrender leaving just you and the trigger happy Horrik.  Do as much damage as you possibly can, because as the fight draws out he gains stacks of fury.

After surrendering, Mai hangs her head in shame.

I loved this boss fight.  We saw a 2 boss encounter in the Flame and Frost dungeon, and here we see it again.  This wasn’t planned however.  Both development teams just happened to design their fights this way.  I hope this does become a trend though.

Besides the dungeon, players will notice a new statue that was built to honor Cobiah Marriner, the founder of Lion’s Arch, and the main character in the newest Guild Wars novel, Sea of Sorrows.  Here players can start a scavenger hunt to find plaques scattered throughout Lion’s Arch.  You may have seen some of these plaques already pop up around the city.  Inscribed on them are bits of history.  If you can find them you will be rewarded with a consumable that gives 5 skill points. I don't want to say any more than that, so not to spoil the hunt for those who won't be using the Wiki to cheat.

A nice way to tie in the new lore of the game.

The Sky Pirates of Tyria is a neat little update.  The main focus of course is the dungeon, featuring a new set of enemies, and unique boss fights that will surely be memorable.  The dungeon will only be a temporary addition, so go party up and kick some pirate butt! 

Want to win a free copy of Guild Wars 2 to take part in the piratical action? Go enter our giveaway now, before it ends on June 28th, 2013!

David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com.  David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them!  If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.

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David North