Hey all, I want to touch on raiding for this week’s post. For those who don’t know, Spirit Vale is the first raid wing that was released this Tuesday. It features (as far as I know) 3 big boss fights. Here’s a bit of info about the first boss and what I thought of my nights trying to down it.
Vale Guardian Mechanics
The first boss fight is the Vale Guardian. The good thing about this fight is that you don’t have to worry at all about condition damage on getting stun locked. This allows for full berserker and condition builds to be played. The player with the highest toughness rating will be considered the tank to the boss and the boss will always try to melee that person. The Vale Guardian incorporates a number of mechanics from three fights you have to do beforehand:
Red Guardian – Can only do condition damage to it and it spawns Seekers that slowly travel to certain players and damages people in their small AoE. These seekers can be knocked back.
Green Guardian – Takes straight up power damage and at times spawns a number of small blue fields at it’s feet that damages and teleports players a short distance away from the guardian after a few seconds.
Blue Guardian – Takes damage but only when it’s special buff has been stripped from it. Also spawns blue orbs that pass through the area and a green AoE that requires 4-5 people ready to stand in because after a short duration will cause an AoE lighting strike on the entire squad for a ton of damage. This damage is mitigated when at least 4 people are standing in the AoE when the strike occurs.
There are 3 phases where you have a total of 8 minutes to fight before enrage kicks in:
- No floors light up, can do damage to boss by pulling to a spot. After around 66% the Vale guardian splits into the 3 guardians described above after a short duration. This is when players need to get to a colored pillar (red, green, blue) to get attuned to a certain guardian. Being attuned to a guardian allows you to not take tick damage by being near it but you can take damage from the other 2 guardians.
- 1 floor lights up that causes tick damage starting with green and moves clockwise to blue, red then back to green. Split occurs again around 33%. More blue teleport fields will spawn. The Vale Guardian will also now use a skill that spawns a lot of small AoEs and you have to break it’s defiance bar to make it stop.
- 2 floors lights up where the safe spots start with red and moves clockwise to green, blue then back to red. Everything introduced in phase 2 is in this phase as well. You need to kill the guardian in this phase to win.
It seems the best way to go about the phases time wise is 3 mins/ 3 mins / 2 mins. In the 3 min slots you spend max one minute in the split portion of the phase. Shaving time during these phases is ideal to avoid enrage.
What I Think of Raiding So Far
I’ve put in a total of 9 hours so far (3 hours a night) since Tuesday with my raid team. Each time we’ve made big progress. The first time I was tanking with Thief because our main tank couldn’t make it that night. I know, I know, it’s dumb to tank with a Thief since I move around a lot and have probably the worst sustain for tanking but it’s all we had since I didn’t have the tank gear on another character just yet. We took the time to not really down the boss but to learn the mechanics and see how far we could go. The second night we made some progress as we swapped around some professions and I went DPS warrior. We got into the 2nd phase rather easily at this point but realized we we’re lacking in the DPS department and we suffered a few strong AoE lighting strikes which meant sometimes I spent time picking people up which took away from DPS even more. I did number crunching and some trait and utility changes to boost my damage. We also did a few more profession changes and our DPS significantly improved the 3rd night around. Best run so far was getting into the last phase with the boss at around 20% health. I feel that now it’s just getting the mechanics down that will give us the Vale Guardian kill.
I have to admit, raiding in Guild Wars 2 is quite an experience. You really learn on how to optimize your damage via traits, food, utilities, and skill rotations given the situation you’re in. You also learn how to properly dodge and kite to avoid damage while keeping your damage output high which I find is essential. Given that there are “the” optimal compositions to run, it’s not punishing to run other types of compositions
Overall, ArenaNet has truly made some good challenging content. I’m quite happy with it; I’ve been enjoying the learning experience and I can’t wait to get back in there tonight and over the weekend!