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The Ascended Wolf

September 21, 2008

The Wolf Has Ascended. Or so I think anyway, having completed the trials in the Crystal Desert and defeated myself. My ranger has been on his path to become ar Real Hero together with his gang (M.O.X., Dunkoro and Sousuke) and some added henchmen.

Augury Rock entrance area

Augury Rock entrance area

The hero stuff has required Wolf to Ascend, which takes place in Augury Rock; a big cliff in the Crystal Desert area. In order to gain entrance one has to complete three trials, each trial given by a ghost hero guarding the entrance. 

The first trial Wolf attempted was in the Dunes of Despair. In this area Mr Ghost wanted some help with overthrowing an evil Ghost who had placed himself in a place of power. To his aid to defend the place he has a bunch of The Forgotten, which seems to be a race of snake-like (cobra style) people, combined with some animated armor and weapons fighting by their side.

And to add some extra spice, Mr Evil Ghost had some big Sand Wurms placed at strategic locations to hurl big chunks of rock at any nearby enemies.

It turned out that fighting the way to Mr Evil Ghost and even defeating him was not the big problem; that worked fine directly. No, after that our own ghost wanted some peace for a ritual. However, there might still be some enemies around, so he said that the gang should cover his butt for 10 minutes.

This turned out to be easier said than done. Defeating the first few waves of enemies (Forgotten) worked fine, but then a Sand Wurm appeared some distance away and started hurling rocks. Initially I decided to stay near the ghost in case any more enemies would appear. None appeared though, so after a while I decided to take a shot at the Wurm. But, while the team was fighting the wurm some new Forgotten appeared and attacked Mr Ghost! Rushing back to defend him, it was a bit too late and the mission failed.

Next round the gang stayed close to Mr Ghost and ignored the wurm. The following spawn was dealt with ok, but then new spawns appeared with a boss and also another wurm appeared in the other side of the area and also started hurling rocks and then a third… The combination of the three wurms and the boss group was a bit too much and the team was defeated.

Third attempt, the gang rushed to kill the first wurm as soon as the first spawns were dealt with, then back to the ghost. After that the new spawns and the boss group appeared and with one less wurm to deal with, this worked out much easier. After that the second and third wurm was dispatched. Back to Mr Ghost. Now there was not much time left, but there were a few mobs just hanging around nearby. After some waiting time the gang decided to attack them, which was close to the time limit and the mission was successful before the last enemy group was killed. Yay!

Next trial the team attempted was in Elona Reach. This area had some minotaurs and smaller worms in the ground, plus some plant life that acted as some kind of mines when approached. Another Mr Ghost and another task. In this case, Mr Ghost’s people had a set of three Vision Crystals, which if combined in a ritual would help with the ascension. However due to greed and mistrust, each crystal had been guarded by a faction and internal fighting had ensued. The task in this case was to obtain the three crystals and give them to the Ghost so he could complete the ritual.

The first crystal the team obtained directly from a friendly ghost, only obstacle was to get it to Mr Ghost, but that was dealt with pretty easily. Now the harder part started. Again with a time limit (30 minutes), the remaining two crystals needed to be found.

In the first time I wasted a lot of the time actually looking in the wrong area (the area where I had been) and only after a while realized that I should go past the ritual area.  The area was occupied by a number of groups of Forgotten, including a number of groups with bosses in them. Many of the groups moved around, so getting through the surrounds required some planing and pulling, which was easier said than done in some places.

Again I did fail initially and it took some work to scout where the crystals were and plan how to deal with the enemy groups. As a bonus one could also raise 3 ritual priest ghosts. In my successful attempt I raised two out of three ghosts and I had a 3-4 minutes to spare when completed. I am not sure I would have had time to find the and raise the third one.

The third trial was in an area called the Thirsty River. In this area there was trial to defeat 6 teams of Forgotten. Each team seemed to consist of 2 groups of 3 regular enemies, one boss and one enemy priest. In this trial the enemy priest would resurrect all fallen members of his team every two minutes unless he had been defeated. The priest was in a protected area together with the boss and typically the other members of the team nearby or in front as well.

The first area had one team, the following area had two teams and the final and third area had three teams to defeat. A zerg rush towards the priest worked in the first area, but failed later – all enemies beating on you while trying to take out the priest was a bit too much. Taking out some of the regular enemies and then attacking the priest worked better though and was possible to complete within a two minute time frame, leaving the boss to deal with after the priest was gone. The areas with two or three teams was not much harder, just required a bit of planning and pulling so that only one team was dealt with at any given time. And not start attacking a new team until a two minute time limit had just been passed…

So this challenge was dealt with as well and Mr Ghost (the third) was happy.

Inside Augury Rock

Inside Augury Rock

So time to get ascended! This was however not that easy. While getting into the rock area worked fine (with spectacular rock-breaking-up-and-falling-down effects), the problem then came inside.
This time Wolf had to fight all by himself and had to meet… The Doppelganger…

Mr D essentially was a copy of Wolf himself with all the same skills etc. And the task was to defeat him. This turned out to be a bit tricky. There was a bonus if the Doppelganger could be defeated within 10 minutes. In the scope of Guild Wars fights, 10 minutes is an eternity. But the first attempt took about 12-13 minutes, then the Doppelganger defeated Wolf…

So time to pick a few other skills. New selection of skills, with a few different debuff and buff options. This time I learned the hard way that it might be good to do some buffing and preparation before going in and Doppelganger took out Wolf substantially faster this time.

The Doppelganger has all the same skills and probably similar attributes/stats also; being computer controlled he also has instant reaction time, faster than I can react.

But computer controlled enemies typically has a disadvantage towards humans when it comes to judge the current situation and know which skills not to use. So the next plan was to equip new skills which were beneficial skills, but would not be that useful for the particular situation. Rangers have some skills to summon spirits; they provide benefits but these benefit everyone – both allies and enemies. And they to take some time to summon. I also equipped a touch skill (requires close range) and some regular ranged skills and buffs. Then I buffed myself just before entering Augury Rock.

The difference was like night and day. The Doppelganger started to summon spirits while Wolf started shooting and Doppel was almost dead by the time he started fighting himself. A few more seconds and DoppelGanger was dead. The whole thing took perhaps 30-40 seconds.

And now Wolf Ascended! The ascension part was nothing spectacular after all the trials – very much a case of that it is not the goal but the path to the goal that is important.

I quite enjoyed these trials and it certainly feels like an accomplishment to have completed them. This is an aspect of Guild Wars I enjoy. It is not just doing another quest and killing some regular enemies, but challenges where you may fail initially, then adapt and after a while you will succeed. And success does not just come from getting to a higher level or getting a larger group of allies, but rather do things in a different way.

Wolf in Dragons Lair, after ascension

Wolf in Dragons Lair, after ascension

Categories: Guild Wars
  1. September 22, 2008 at 15:03

    Now that you have ascended you must head to the next bit of fun.
    Infused armor…that is all I will say for now.
    It is a veritable pain though.

    Anyways, the fun to be had in this game is phenomenal. Keep up the great stories.

  2. September 22, 2008 at 16:49

    Yes, ArenaNet did actually not go so much for the traditional MMORPG route, but rather blended in some Diablo-type games, RTSes etc. And it worked out quite well I think.

    How would the market have looked like if the first MMOtype games were like Guild Wars rather than Everquest and Ultima Online?

  3. September 23, 2008 at 14:51

    Hmmm…there would be less griping and more playing?


    Really, everyone screams about mechanics, same old playstyles, etc.
    If developers would have followed GW’s style of gaming, there would be more control of the story, combat could be different, and questing could be more visceral than the same ole kill 10x.

    Too bad.

    Now, I wonder how Blade and Soul …another effort from NCSoft will play. It looks to be semi real time, and has story style combat, etc.
    Look that one up if you are into Crouching Tiger or Forbidden Kingdom styyles of movies to see an MMO that looks quite unique.
    Awesome video here
    (suggest downloading in HD)

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