Sloths are gentle, quiet creatures, that rarely pose a threat to humans. But apparently, someone at ArenaNet had a bad experience with a sloth as a child, because the next wing of the raid, Salvation Pass, features the deadly Slothasor, which has the amazing ability to fall asleep during a raid!
I kid, I kid. No, actually, I don’t. He really does fall asleep.
Don’t worry, it’s part of the mechanics, and not just because your raid group is that boring on voice chat. Though that would be neat, if you could wake him up by yelling through proximity chat.
No, wait, that would be terrible. Anyway…
Last week, I got a chance to sample ol’ Slothy with some ArenaNet folks, including Game Designer Crystal Reid, and it went about as well as you’d expect for a group with me in it. I mean, I was the last to die on one of the takes, carrying those noobs as best I could, but even with my awesome skills, we only managed to get the boss down to about 60% health on our best run. There was only so much I could do.
Slothasor sleeps in a chamber where a bunch of mushrooms grow, and those mushrooms continually emit a gas that is, suffice to say, not healthful to players. Another type of mushroom has a curious effect, transforming the player who eats it into a slubling, a slug-like creature (Why aren’t they called “sluglings,” then? I don’t know.), for a minute that’s immune to and can eat the poisonous mushrooms to clear a safe path for the raid group. Keep creating safe spaces and burn Slothasor down to zero. That’s all there is to it!
And if you believe that, I’ve got some fine real estate on Southsun Cove I’d like to sell you, CITIZENS!
Problem, the first: When you’re a slubling, you’re an enemy monster, just like Slothasor and the slubling adds he spawns, meaning your teammates can damage you, especially by AoEs and rogue pets. As a necro, I was warned multiple times right after someone transformed, “no Epidemic!” The slubling player can typically get clear of the group after a few seconds and is pretty durable, with 45,000 health, but it’s something for groups to keep an eye on.
About those slubling spawns… there are a lot of them. They’ll harass players, dropping even more fields of damage and giving the group very little room to maneuver. So that’s bad, but something that’s meant to make the fight more challenging. Something that’s not meant to make it more challenging is an old GW2 nemesis, the camera. Working in such a confined space, it sometimes constrained my view and added an undesired level of difficulty to the already-difficult fight. Maybe it’s because I was on a test account that I didn’t have totally set up with my main account’s perfectly honed camera options.
Second, Slothasor doesn’t follow traditional aggro mechanics. Instead, he randomly “fixates” on a character. I asked Reid why they went with that, after introducing and promoting the idea of Toughness-based tanking in the first raid wing, and she told me that they “wanted to change it, so as not to require one player to do it [tank] all the time. It puts more responsibility on the entire raid. It just didn’t make sense I this encounter.”
For a fight that requires so much leading the entire party around, I can see why they’d go with something a little different, though it’ll take some getting used to. As I’ve found during some encounters, it’s not the “everyone has to be responsible for their own healing” part of the GW2 mantra that’s been difficult for some players to grasp, it’s been “everyone is potentially responsible for tanking” that trips people up. I also think there could be a better indicator of when you’re fixated, like a symbol over your head, similar to what you get in the Jade Maw fight. I was fixated a couple times and didn’t even notice because I was so, uh, fixated on the fight that I didn’t notice the text at the top of the screen.
And yes, Slothasor does fall asleep, at 80/60/40/20/10% health. When he does, the players have to “wake” him by breaking his defiance bar. (Don’t worry, it isn’t as ridiculous as the Shatterer’s.) When you wake him, he’ll fear everyone, which can be really bad in a room with poison clouds everywhere, so make sure to have some stun-breaking skills handy. At 50% health, he does a “Spore Shake,” hurling spores off his back that explode on players and cover them in conditions.
Finally, Slothasor breathes fire from time to time. It hurts. I suggest you avoid it.
Let sleeping sloths lie
One thing that I thought I’d heard is that raid wings would get incrementally tougher, with the requirements for ascended gear being greater as each wing came out. Reid told me that wasn’t going to be the case, and that they were going for equivalent difficulty in each wings, though the bosses themselves would naturally get harder as you progressed through a wing. “There are still people who are working through encounters like Gorseval or Sabetha,” she told me, “and maybe they’ve hit a bit of a wall. So the idea is that if that’s frustrating your group, you can experience the new content and get a bit of a morale boost [by taking on and beating the new bosses].”
And there’s no need to be concerned about needing any difficult-to-get Masteries throughout the raid wing. You’ll need to have unlocked Bouncing Mushrooms and Updraft Use, and there’s a new line introduced with Salvation Pass, that includes Forsaken Thicket Waters, which Reid described as helpful for the final boss encounter but not absolutely necessary.
Also, he’s not called “Slothasaur” because he’s not an actual dinosaur. Really, that was the reason they gave me.
If I had to form an opinion on Slothasor given my brief time with the furball, I’d say he’s probably right about in line with other raid bosses in Forsaken Thicket. He’ll be challenging, but not impossible to overcome. Thankfully, failed runs only take about five minutes, so you’ll get plenty of chances against him in a brief time. As cute as he is, though, don’t try to pet him. He hates that.