Urgoz starting area
All was quiet at ArenaNet last week as the various members of the Guild Wars 2 team enjoyed a well-deserved vacation. I'm going to consider it a welcome breather after being drowned in so many squee-worthy updates the previous week and take the opportunity to turn my attention back to Guild Wars 1 and another elite area: Urgoz's Warren.

I really enjoy Urgoz's Warren for a couple of reasons. Obviously, it gives me tons of Kurzick faction, but once you've got the hang of it, it's a fun challenge even without the perks. It's full of environmental effects and hidden enemies that prevent you from simply charging in and blasting away, so you have to think ahead, be careful, and play strategically.

Follow along after the jump and we'll take a closer look.

Let's start with the most important part: getting in. Whether or not the world has favor isn't an issue here; you simply need a Passage Scroll to Urgoz's Warren. You can get one a few different ways, but the quickest and easiest is to just pick one up from a scroll trader. They're fairly inexpensive (220 gold as of this writing), so grab one and head to either House zu Heltzer or Embark Beach. Double-click the scroll in your inventory, and you'll find yourself in the mission outpost. Urgoz's is a mission, so once you're in the outpost, you can finish setting up, clear inventory, get whatever you need out of storage, and so on before clicking the Enter Mission button. The scroll won't take you directly into the instance.

When you're setting up, note the maximum party size. That's right, you get 12 instead of eight here, so the more the merrier. You're still limited to seven heroes, so bring a friend.

As always, the general tips I provided a while back apply in this area, but one applies so heavily that I'm going to quote myself: "Take it slow. Your number one strategy is to pay attention, take your time, pull carefully, and never, ever, ever rush in just because an area looks clear. (Helpful hint: It's not clear. Yes, I know you don't see anything on the radar. Trust me -- it's not clear.)" It's very true here -- there aren't multiple quests within the area, just one overarching goal of "Kill Urgoz," and it's a long path through various large corridors and rooms. Many of them look empty, but watch out. Foes will pop out of the ground, come from around corners, and often seem to spawn out of thin air as you get close. Be very careful. The upside of all of this is that thanks to doorways and narrow corridors, it's extremely easy to clump up huge mobs and unleash every sort of hurts-multiple-foes pain you can come up with.

Every class has at least a handful of skills that really shine with tightly packed mobs, so check your arsenal and strap on the big guns. Traps, Barrage, Panic or Tease, Spiteful Spirit, Rodgort's Invocation -- these are just a tiny sampling of good ways to bring major damage to foes. It's minion master heaven down there too, so pack one of those. Once you're there, make a habit of finding good choke points as you go (there's no shortage; you'll find them everywhere), gathering there, and sending one person out to pop hidden enemies and lure them back.

Now that we've covered general tips, let's get into some helpful tips for Urgoz's itself. As before, the wiki map is your go-to resource for navigating the maze quickly, so keep it handy as you progress through the area.

All of this advice comes into effect the moment you enter the mission. Your group will load in at the head of a narrow, curved corridor that opens into a large space. It's clear all the way down, with the exception of five enemies in the large space. Since you've paid attention to what I've said until now, you know better, right? Send one victim... er, scout ahead almost to the end of the corridor to spawn a batch of Hopping Vampires and Thought Stealers. Don't worry about attacking them; they'll commit suicide pretty quickly. The problem is that when they do that, they steal all of your health or energy, harming you in the process. The upside of this is that once it happens, your minion master has a huge pile of enemy corpses for spawning minions.

That will prepare you nicely for the next challenge: those five little foes up ahead. As you move forward, you'll see on your radar that it's more than five. There are quite a few, and they're all linked. This is a tricky start because choke points work against you here -- you're in the narrow area and the enemies have room to spread out. Don't be afraid to back up here if things get overwhelming. You've got a ton of safe space to retreat, so you may as well make use of it. (By the way, take a minute to talk to the Kurzick Architect NPC near your spawn point. You'll be glad you did later.)

Once you're through this, it's a natural progression of proceeding carefully and pulling. As you progress through the rooms, you'll see various Twisted Barks, each of which causes an environmental effect: weakness, exhaustion, and massive health degen. You'll want to avoid fighting inside these as much as you can by keeping the majority of your party barely outside of the effect and sending one person in to pull. You won't be able to do this 100%, either because some enemies won't pull far enough or because the terrain won't allow it, but with careful pulling, you can clear a large number of enemies without having to deal with the environmental effect. Once you kill the Twisted Bark in each area, the environmental effect will end and your party can proceed more easily.

There are still a few pitfalls and tricks as well as an interesting story along the way, so I'll touch on those. In the third room, once you've pulled all the enemies you can to the door and killed them, you can head inside to take on the enemies on top of the bridge in front of you. Once they're all dead, someone needs to run up the ramp and activate both switches to open the doors. Players who are familiar with Urgoz's know what a huge sense of "oh thank goodness!" is contained in that last sentence. If you're not familiar... well, do you remember that Kurzick Architect from earlier? He made a comment about the teleporters' being installed backwards, and it's funny because of the story behind it.

You see, until recently, there was no ramp in that room, so getting to the switches required a very complicated and very specific series of actions. There was literally one way up: for one party member to be a Necro or a Necro secondary and use Necrotic Traversal or Consume Corpse to exploit a corpse on top of the bridge after the enemies were killed. Teleport up via the skill, pull both switches, and use the one-way teleporter up top to get back down. If nobody remembered to bring the skill or the minion master mistakenly used up all the corpses or the Necro waited too long and the corpses disappeared or the Necro accidentally teleported back down before pulling both switches... that was it. The party had no recourse but to go back to the outpost and start the entire thing over. Almost everyone who's done Urgoz's more than once has a story of that sinking feeling when he's realized that one of those things had happened and the party was finished. (It's even more unpleasant when you realize it's your fault. And yes, I speak from experience.) Adding a final funny twist to the setup, those two skills I mentioned are Prophecies-only and... yep, Urgoz's Warren is in Factions.

Just a little over two weeks ago, the live team added the ramp, sneaking it in with the Wintersday update. So to the live team I give a big thank-you, and the rest of you can join me in appreciating how easy it is to get to those switches now!

All right, back to business! The very next room contains a long bridge. Since it looks empty and harmless, you can be sure that it's deadly. Someone's going to need to run in and pop the hidden Thorn Wolves and suicide creatures, but running down the bridge also triggers a lot of nearby fire flowers, which are exactly what they sound like. I challenge you not to get the Super Mario Brothers theme in your head at this point. They inflict burning, so whoever is going in will need some pre-prot and some good ongoing healing just before heading on to the bridge. A speed buff wouldn't hurt either. Once everything is spawned, lured back to the group, and killed (and your lure rezzed if necessary), the rest of the party can hurry across the bridge and proceed. The fire flowers will still be active, so don't linger.

The seventh room is the next potential pitfall. You'll see three long bridges, and the recommended way to do this is for one party member to stay behind and not enter the room at all. He or she will wait there while the other 11 work their way across the three bridges. Once they are finished and all past the last bridge, the 12th member can proceed and join them. There is a reason for this, and it's not just so the other 11 can huddle up and say what they really think of #12. Once the entire party is on the first bridge, a huge group of new enemies will spawn on the bridges. The wiki claims 150. I don't know; I've never had the nerve to try it. It is doable, and if you want the extra faction and drops, it's an option. This method is a trick to get it done much more quickly, though.

Finally, Urgoz. He's easy to find once you make it to his room because he's enormous. He's flanked by two equally huge Greater Serpents. You want to focus fire on Urgoz with the goal of taking him out as quickly as possible, but all 12 rushing in at once is a terrible idea. As you approach Urgoz, Explosive Growths will begin emerging from the ground. Each one will stand there for a few seconds and then explode, dealing 300 damage and a three-second knockdown to all adjacent foes. That would be you, so stay away from them. They're pretty thick on the ground, and Urgoz has the ability to slow you down, so taking a hit and a knockdown from one could easily trigger a nasty chain effect that kills you quickly.

A common technique here is for the party to keep a healer in the doorway out of harm's way. Everyone needs to move quickly and continually. Run to Urgoz, deal out a single skill or spell, then get back fast. If you take damage, get to the healer in the doorway to get to full health before heading back in. You can kill off the Explosive Growths, but it's honestly a waste of time because once you kill Urgoz, they disappear anyway. Your time is much better spent just taking down the big guy.

Finally, anyone with a hard rez or rez scrolls should not hesitate to run out of the room if the situation starts to go south. Better to spend some time reviving your fallen comrades than dealing with a full party wipe after the hours spent getting to this point. Once Urgoz is down the chest will spawn. Kill the Serpents if you like, then loot the chest and head for the teleporter in the distance to get back to the outpost. The teleporter only takes one person at a time, so don't worry about dragging your entire group out when you teleport.

There you have it: Urgoz's Warren. Have a great time, and be sure to share your success stories!

Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at rubi@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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