Last night, I ventured into Sorrow’s Furnace, a high-level area in Guild Wars Prophecies, to complete the last part in the “To Sorrow’s Furnace” quest series. Sorrow’s Furnace went live at the end of Summer 2005. It was a free mini expansion to Guild Wars, and was created to give added challenge to PvE players who had completed the storyline missions, or who had reached the high-level area of the Southern Shiverpeak mountains.
Why am I just getting round to blogging about this now? I have been taking my sweet time completing these quests, obviously. A girl cannot play Guild Wars alone, ya know!
The last quest that I needed to finish was “Unspeakable, Unknowable”. This quest requires your party of eight adventurers to split up. One group guards the NPC Monk from enemy patrols, and the other group ventures deeper into the cave to gather materials for the NPC’s ceremony. Prior to the Autumn 2006 update, which allowed players to direct Heroes and Henchmen through the use of the Compass flags, this particular quest was nearly impossible to do without one or more human players. Despite the occasionally stupid Henchmen/Hero AI, this quest is now easily achievable without other human players.
- Khirsah, the Necromancer/Mesmer (me): Minion Master spec
- Olias, the Necromancer Hero: Minion Master spec
- Melonni, the Dervish/Mesmer Hero: Scythe and Mysticism Skills + Cry of Frustration; nothing too fancy
- Dunkoro, the Monk/Mesmer Hero: Healing spec
- Lina, the Protection Prayers Monk Henchman
- Mhenlo, the Healing Prayers Monk Henchman
- Little Thom, the Axe Warrior Henchman
- Devona, the Hammer Warrior Henchman
- High Priest Alkar, the Monk NPC
There are a few things to note about my party:
1) There are two Minion Masters, myself and the Hero, Olias (who I like to pretend is my character’s lover LOL.).
2) Including the NPC, there are four Monks in the party, three of the Monks are Healers. One is a Protector, whose role is damage prevention and mitigation.
3) There are three melee characters, one of which is a Hero, Melonni. This is noteworthy because Heroes can be directed individually, but Henchmen can only be directed as a group. In other words, Heroes can be split individually from the party, but Henchmen must travel as a pack.
In the quest, the player must battle her way through various packs of evil Dwarves in order to reach an evil Dwarf Mesmer boss, kill the boss and his nine Mesmer buddies, and then plow through more enemy patrols to gather crystals for the NPC. Meanwhile, after the death of the boss, the NPC takes a static position on the map, and he must be guarded from enemy patrols who spawn periodically and attack the NPC.
My party’s composition, with the limitations of flagging in mind, gives an indication of how I split my party. I set flags for Olias (Minion Master), Melonni (melee), and Dunkoro (healing) around the Monk NPC so that they could guard him and destroy the patrols. With Olias serving as Minion Master for the guard group, he had the ability to spawn more allies to to battle.
I took everyone else — Lina and Mhenlo (the Monks) and Little Thom and Devona (the Warriors) — with me to destroy the enemy mobs and retrieve the crystals. I was serving as Minion Master for the retrieval group, so I was able to spawn more allies to help out as well. Because I am a spellcaster, my ability to cast was not hindered by the need to carry a crystal in my arms. Had I been using melee weapons instead of spells, I would have been crippled.
This strategy worked fairly smoothly. There were a couple of times where I had to take my half of the party back to the guarding group because things were getting sticky for them. On a previous attempt, I had believed, in error, that the Heroes could handle guarding the NPC without my assistance. In the end, my attempt last night was a success.
On a personal note, I generally dislike being a Minion Master in Guild Wars. It’s not that I don’t enjoy raising undead servants to assist the party. It is satisfying creating an undead army to crush my foes. For me though, Death Magic is just less interesting than the Curse line. Curses combined with Mesmer Skills provide a little more challenge for me.