Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Guild Wars 2 - The Dragon's Stand Survival Guide by SnickyMcNibits

Greetings fellow citizens of Tyria!

Dragon's Stand is in my opinion the best group content ANet has ever made. However it's a big event with many different parts to it and it can be a little overwhelming. Whether you're intimidated, confused or just haven't gotten around to it, this guide aims to give you what you need to properly conquer Dragon's Stand.

Before The Event
The only mastery you need is Updraft Use, but Itzl Poison Mastery and Ley Line Gliding will both open up new areas and be generally convenient.

The metaevent will require 60 to 90 minutes to complete, with another 15 minutes after that for post victory looting.

The Dragon’s Stand map resets every 2 hours, where everyone currently in a map is instantly killed and people are scattered to random instances. A timer can be found here to show you what time the map reset is.

Because the map you’re in is randomized your ability to coordinate beforehand is limited. One thing you can (and should) do is join a squad before the reset. This allows you to travel to the instance of another party member (usually your squad’s commander) to get everyone back together. This lets you get into an instance where you know there’s going to be a lot of other people.

If you don’t get into a populated instance this way, look through the party finder for a taxi into a good instance. You’ll want to be in a high population map or you’ll have nearly no chance of succeeding. This also means that you’ll have to start Dragon’s Stand at the same time as many other people - at map reset - so you’ll have to be ready to go at the reset or the boat might leave without you.

The area specific chest is the Noxious Pod, which provides some good loot including Crystalline Ore. You may encounter up to 5 pods during the metaevent, and if you actively look for them after the finale you may find up to 30 per run. Stock up on Machetes, which you earn doing Dragon's Stand events or you can buy using a combination of the other map currencies from a vendor at the primary Pact camp.

Picking A Lane
There are three different lanes that require 3 different groups of players to work on simultaneously in order to progress the metaevent to it’s final stages. They’re usually referred to as top, middle and bottom.

There isn’t a huge difference between the lanes. Noxious Pods can provide Auric Dust or Auric Attunement potions (free map participation for Auric Basin) in the top lane, Airship Parts and Verdant Attunement potions in the mid, and Ley Line Sparks and Tangled Depths potions in south.

You want to have 20-30 people in each lane, spread out evenly. If your lane has a commander running in it, join their squad so they can get a more accurate headcount.

Preparation Phase
The lane phase, which makes up the majority of the Dragon’s Stand meta, alternates between Preparation and Pushing phases.

The Preparation begins first. Each camp will have 2-3 events that appear around it that will give the Pact troops an advantage during their next push. Honestly I’m not even sure if they do anything, but if you get them done quicker than the next push happens sooner, and you have nothing better to do during that time.

There will always be several events happening, each with different objectives ranging from collecting scrap to escorting NPCs. Some of these events will require Itzl Poison Mastery to complete, but if you don’t have it there will always be an alternative event you can do.

Push Phase
After completing these events or running out of time, the Push will begin. You will have to escort Pact troops as they make their assault down the lane to the next station. If too many Pact troops die this event can fail and you’ll have to restart, but that shouldn’t be a concern as long as you have enough players.

During the push you’ll mostly be mowing down grunts, but there are two enemies in particular you should watch out for:

First is a Champion Mordrem Thornheart - they’re very big and you’ll encounter one per Push. These are slow moving behemoths that spawn Mordrem Bombers at regular intervals. They are highly resistant to damage until you’ve staggered them by running down their break bar, at which point you should pour on all the damage you can. These enemies are the absolute priority when they spawn, even greater than the legendary foes you’ll encounter, and the zerg should always focus them down first.

Second are Legendary enemies, Stavemaster Adryn for top lane, Blademaster Diarmid for middle and Axemaster Hareth on bottom. These are big bosses that you’ll see at least twice during the Lane Phase, and a few times after that too.
  • Adryn has a lot of crowd control and AoE at range
  • Diarmid does lots of AoE around himself, can reflect projectiles, and splits into 3 when near death
  • Hareth is heavily armored until his Break Bar is broken, deals heavy AoE around himself and has powerful projectiles.

The Spitfire
The first two Push phases end with a fight against a Mordrem Spitfire, a huge worm-like turret creature that you must take down. The Spitfire is protected by a shield and immune to damage until you kill the two Mordrem Vinetenders. These Vinetenders will respawn periodically and need to be dealt with quickly or else they’ll put the shield back on the Spitfire.

After defeating a Spitfire the Pact will establish a new forward base (with Waypoint) and begin another Preparation phase.

After the third Push, you’ll need to wait at the entrance to your lane’s tower for the other lanes to reach their towers. Once all three lanes have reached their towers, the next phase begins.

Tower Phase
To complete the towers, each group must break into two - one to fight the boss, and the other to do laps around the perimeter to keep the Preservers and Ley Line Collection Pods down. The majority of the players will be in the second group running around, while you only need 5-10 players to fight the boss. Usually if you’re in a squad the commander will ask for volunteers to fight the boss and have them move down to Subgroup 2, while the rest of the zerg runs around with him. Despite what you might think, the Preserver team has a much more important job than the Boss team, as failure on their part will cause the whole event to practically restart.

Around the outside of the room there are 3 Ley Line Collection Pods. If any of these pods are alive, the boss in the middle becomes invulnerable and if the boss is dead he will respawn. Veteran Mordrem Preservers will spawn and attempt to heal or respawn the Pods, and if they succeed your boss group is screwed.

The main zerg will be running laps to try and spike down the Preservers - none of the other enemies matter and you can run past them. Preservers respawn at a set time after they have been killed, so it’s important for the zerg to keep a good rhythm to make sure they’re at the respawn locations right as the Preserver pops up. If your group gets out of sync with the respawn times it almost certainly means the a Ley Line Collection Pod will get back up, resetting the whole process. Target call Preservers immediately and do not run past their spawn points if you get there early! Commanders can choose to use those fancy new markers to mark the spawn locations, or if you look at your minimap they will be nearby the pod locations that are designated with a shield icon.

The boss group will be in a smaller island in the center of the tower, fighting either Adryn, Diarmid or Hareth, whichever boss corresponds to your lane. Try to pull him away from the bridge that leads to the island and towards the island itself to prevent him from aggroing on to the Preserver group that might be running past.

Typically on the first lap, a few members of the boss group will kite the boss around the center area to keep him out of the main path, while the rest of the boss group follow the main zerg and takes care of the pods. The main zerg shouldn’t stop to kill the pods on the first lap but should instead proceed right to the next Preserver. After the pods are all gone the boss group will all head towards the center to deal with the boss itself.

The Tower phase only completes when all three lanes have defeated their boss. If your boss group finishes early you still need to kill Preservers to keep your boss from respawning while the other lanes finish up. Your boss group can either choose to run with the main zerg or if they don’t need help can move to another lane to assist them.

The Mouth of Mordremoth
And now the fun part.

This battle takes place on a series of floating islands. Your job is to kill the Mouth of Mordremoth before it can destroy a certain number of islands and absorb their stored Ley Line Energy.

This battle is a series of many smaller events, where failing the event can cause the partial or full destruction of an island. It’s important to spread out to make sure you have all the islands covered. You can move between them by using the updrafts spaced between them or by using Ley Line Gliding as most of the islands have ley lines connecting them to a nearby island. It’s fine to move between islands for events but it’s best to return the island you’re guarding as soon as you can.

There’s a number of different events. Three common ones are:
  • Pods spawn on every island. Failing to destroy the pod within the short time limit will damage the island it is on.
  • Several islands to have an opportunity to attack a segment of the Mouth of Mordremoth. You’ll see either a snakey S segment or a dragon head on your map before this event spawns, indicating that you can reach the body or head of the Mouth from this spot respectively. You can do minor damage during this phase, but if you’re attacking the head be very careful about it’s attacks. A Ley Line absorbing pod can also spawn during this event, and must be destroyed or else it will deal damage to the island it is on.
  • Mordremoth will drop off his generals on 3 different islands. Failure to defeat Diarmid or Hareth will cause massive damage to the island they’re on, and until Adryn is defeated the other two will be buffed. This is an all-hands-on-deck situation so make sure you help take on one of the bosses.
The most important event will be signaled by saying that Mordremoth will try to consume an island, with Laranthir giving you instructions on what to do. A single Island will have Mordremoth’s icon next to it, and this is where his head will show up. This event is where you can do the most damage to the Mouth, easily chunking down a third of his life and with a good group maybe even doing more than half. Mordremoth will repeatedly try to take bites out of the island, and you have to prevent him by breaking his Break Bar. However, in order to give your group the most time to damage him you should delay the event as long as possible - aim to break his bar between the third and fourth chomps, but not before! After being broken he’ll reel back before attempting the same thing again. You need to break him several times, at which point he still damages the island but does not destroy it.

A Pact Chopper will also fall down on a random single island, and you can pick up a bomb from it to drop on the Mouth while gliding above it. The bomb does massive damage and is absolutely worth picking up along the way, but if you’re close to the Mouth you’d do more damage by getting there to attack sooner than by making the detour for the bomb. You can also waypoint without dropping the bomb so do that if it would put you closer to the Mouth.

Again this is an all-hands-on-deck event so make an effort to get to the head no matter where you are. Just return back to your island after you’ve finished.

Loot!
And now what you’re really here for. There is a lot of crap to do, and only 15 minutes to do it in before it arbitrarily kicks you back to the base camp and closes off all the fun areas. Spend your time wisely.

After killing the Mouth of Mordremoth, you can glide up to a high ledge for a chest and access to some unique merchants, including the dude that sells Plated weapons for your Specialization collections. There’s a ton of giant arrows on your map pointing to this, you can’t miss it.

The Northern Advance Waypoint is your best friend if you want Noxious Pods. There are two major farming spots for them: The first requires you to drop down a hole directly west of the waypoint, travel underground, then use an updraft to get to a new area called Rooted Copse. This area is absolute chaos with many dangerous enemies, all of which will be aggro’d to fleeing players trying to grab pods. It has a ton of pods though. The second is south of the waypoint near the place where you charm Juvenile Tigers. Head there and explore the space between the Top and Middle lane for a bunch of easy pods. You can easily get 20 pods, maybe even 30, during this time frame so stock up on machetes beforehand.

Rangers can find two pets, the aforementioned Tigers and Electric Wyverns. Electric Wyverns are found near the hero point in Dragon’s Domain. It is very tricky to reach their perch without Advanced Gliding, but it can be done if you start from the area with the final chest and the Plated weapons merchant. (Video stolen from the wiki)

There are three different spawn locations for Treasure Mushrooms, one in each lane, after the defeat of the Mouth of Mordremoth. All of them are fairly close to waypoints: the Northern Forward Camp, the Central Advanced Camp, and the Southern Advanced Camp. Generally people will announce in map when they’re about to activate one, so join a big group and do them sequentially to make sure everyone gets loot. If you start the first one quickly after the Mouth, it may respawn in time for a second round before you run out of time.

There are also a large number of vistas and Hero Points scattered around the map. The Hero Points in general are actually quite tricky and will need several players to complete, and will likely take a good chunk of your available time. Advertise in map which ones you’re going for or bring along some friends.

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