I attempted the Thirsty River Mission so many times yesterday that I lost count. The PUGs that one of my guildmates and I joined just lacked co-ordination and a sense of timing. It was frustrating. Amazingly, there weren’t a lot of people who were swearing or insulting or being immature. Today, we completed Thirsty River and the Bonus Mission on the first try. The team was composed of me (Necromancer/Mesmer), Dyannamika (Necromancer/Monk), and one of my friends, Roomiepbt (Elementalist/Necromancer). Roomiepbt had already done all the Crystal Desert Missions. The other three members were Henchmen. The Mission went incredibly smoothly. It was so awesome.
We all proceeded onward to the Elona Reach Mission. Some people say it’s one of the hardest in the entire game. Of course, I read up on Mission strategies prior to attempting them, but that doesn’t always mean that a group will succeed, cf. my experience with Thristy River and other Missions. Elona Reach requires good timing, and the sense not to aggro too many patrol groups at once.
Because I hadn’t expected to do Elona Reach this weekend, considering how hard Thirsty River seemed to be yesterday, I hadn’t done a lot of reading on tactics. Our first attempt failed because of bad timing, and uncertainty of where to go. Roomiepbt had done this Mission before, but it was a long while ago, so he didn’t remember. We completed the main Mission on the second attempt, but failed to do the Bonus because we ran out of time. We had to collect all three crystal shards and get them to the platform in 30 minutes. It was a relief that we didn’t have to try this one all that many times before we succeeded.
After that was complete, we were automagically transported to Augury Rock. Since all three Missions required for Ascension (Dunes of Despair, Thirsty River, Elona Reach) were complete, it was now time to face the test of Ascension (Warning: PvE spoilers). At Augury Rock, I spoke to a priest, and he teleported me to just in front of the mesa. From there, some shiny stuff happened, the rock opened, and I found myself inside a great hall. Here I faced my Doppelganger. I’d read all about this Doppelganger. You have to defeat it in a one-on-one battle. No matter what Skills you have on your Skill Bar, the Doppelganger will match.
I am a Necromancer/Mesmer, and I had read some tactics to defeating my Doppelganger. I knew that I needed to equip Skills that it either couldn’t use, such as Death Magic Skills which require corpses, or Skills that force it to sacrifice its Health. At first, I thought maybe some Mesmer Skills like Empathy (deals damage when an enemy attacks) and Backfire (deals damage when an enemy casts spells) would be good. I mixed that up with Death Magic. I kept failing and failing. Then I thought, maybe I should use an all Necromancer Skill set. I consulted the handy dandy GuildWiki for some tips. Then I decided to go with a build that uses Blood Magic and Curses:
Attribute Points: Blood Magic (12), Curses (10+2+1)
Price of Failure
The last three on the list were the only Skills that I actually used to kill the Doppelganger. The other Skills require the user to sacrifice Health. I didn’t use my weapon, and I kept within melee range so that the Doppelganger could attack me. Enfeeble causes Weakness which reduces damage of an enemy’s attacks, Insidious Parasite allows me to steal Health from the enemy whenever the enemy hits me, Price of Failure causes the enemy to miss its attacks more often and also take damage every time the enemy misses an attack.
The battle was close, and it took a few minutes. I honestly thought I was going to die, because I was at less than 25% Health when the Doppelganger finally killed itself. In hindsight, I could have swapped one of the Blood Magic Skills for Spiteful Spirit, which causes an enemy (and nearby foes) to take damage each time they attack. But in the end, I won, and it didn’t take too long at that. I might try fighting the Doppelganger again, because it was kind of fun.
Now that I’m all Ascended, I can take my character to the continent of Cantha when Guild Wars: Factions is released in a couple of weeks.
EDIT: Substituted Malaise with Spiteful Spirit. Defeated Doppelganger much faster this time.
EDIT: I made a Flickr photoset of my Ascension. I love how Guild Wars allows you to capture cut scenes.