Flameseeker Chronicles: Catching crabs in Guild Wars 2

Flameseeker Chronicles
My goodness, that lady's bikini is awfully close to body tone from this far away, isn't it?

If the sun and sandy beaches didn't give it away, I've spent most of the last week or so of Guild Wars 2 time in Southsun Cove. Karka Island! Sunny Orr! Whatever you call it, I hope we can all agree that Southsun Cove is a terrible place filled with awful monsters that nobody in their right mind, in-universe or otherwise, would ever want to visit without the lure of titles and shiny -- literally, one of them glows, and the other glistens -- backpieces.

The last week has seen players traveling to Southsun Cove in veritable waves in pursuit of goodies. In case you're unaware: The latest content update, The Secret of Southsun, is channeling players over to, well, Southsun Cove.

It's been quite the experience. On one hand, Southsun is still, in the humble opinion of yours truly, about three times worse than Orr in terms of how annoying the monsters are. I've been able to make my way around fairly comfortably on auto-leveled characters, but that does nothing to make the Karka any more charming. It's not a place for the unwary, as anyone who's jauntily run off to escort Demolitionist Varrv as he plants explosives only to be overrun by dozens of skittering nasties can attest.

On the other hand, though, this is the first time since the Lost Shores Weekend that Southsun has been so flooded with players. I'm a big fan of having lots of people around me in PvE, so having groups around for nearly every event I run across has been great fun.

Flameseeker Chronicles Catching crabs in Guild Wars 2
The heartache of actually having to fight the Karka has been offset by two buffs that players have the option to pick up when entering the island. If you haven't been before, I suggest you seek out the Consortium and Settler Negotiators that will be somewhere around the portal that you pop out of on your next visit to sunny Southsun Cove. They'll each offer you a different buff; one will give you a respectable boost to your Magic Find, and the other will give the same sort of boost to the amount of gold you're receiving. Additionally, completing events while under either buff will aid your progress along one of two achievement tracks.

There are about 35 achievements that we know of related to the Secret of Southsun living story. A handful of them won't be available until the Last Stand at Southsun content comes out on May 28th. Completing any 25 of the Southsun achievements will unlock a Sclerite Karka Shell backpiece.

If 25 achievements sounds intimidating, fear not! About 12 of them are linked together: There's a meta achievement called Southsun Volunteer Fieldwork that you earn by helping Researcher Levvi collect plant samples, and each individual sample is worth its own achievement. You need a total of 10 samples for the meta achievement, but there are 11 sites you can visit. One of them is at the end of a jumping puzzle that some people find particularly heinous; being able to complete the meta achievement without visiting that is ArenaNet's way (I presume) of trying not to punish the uncoordinated.

The upside of lugging a combat-useless gun all over the island is the Fervid Censer backpiece that comes as a reward for the meta achievement. It's a glowing yellow flower (leading me to wish, for the first time, for a dye channel on backpieces. Remember how we talked about my altoholism last week? I didn't have a character that matched that stupid shiny flower, so I made a new character.) It's worth noting that while neither backpiece is of Ascended quality, both have Infusion slots. If you've been looking for a fairly simple way to beef up on your available Infusion slots, here it is.

The big meta achievement, the one that rewards the Sclerite backpiece, has also been made to be as non-punishing as possible. I mentioned that you have to get only a subset of the Southsun achievements to earn it; the numbers work out perfectly so that you can get the achievement now without setting foot into Crab Toss. Well, without doing anything more than setting foot inside the arena. There's an achievement handed out for simply entering the arena, and that's the only one I've got.

Flameseeker Chronicles Catching crabs in Guild Wars 2
Crab Toss, a clear sign of the utterly fallen state of the Southsun inhabitants' collective sanity, is an all-vs.-all PvP mode. Matches are six-minute terror fests in which players throw rocks at each other and get trampled by up to three veteran Karkas who roll about the arena. The goal of the game is to have the most points at the end, which you do by stealing the titular crab from other players, holding the crab, and holding the crab while some other poor soul is beaten to death either by players or the roaming nightmares from the sea. Downed players are automagically revived every few seconds, which is great if you're me terrible at avoiding barrel-rolling death machines.

If you decide that this sounds like a pleasant way to pass an afternoon, there is booty to be had. The top player in each match receives two green-or-better items and some crafting materials or a potion. Anyone who scores at least one point can receive a single green-or-better and a Karka shell. Those of us you who cower in a corner and get no points are given a seashell. There are also two earnable titles. I'm thinking that I might be highly desirous of the Crabgrabber title (just so that I can take it out at parties later). You can also get a title for winning a match -- which is, all things considered, probably a modest requirement. There's one achievement that requires you to be holding the crab while everyone else is knocked down. That one, happily, is not tied to a title.

Southsun supply crates are available from the gem store or at a tiny drop chance from monsters on the island. They have a chance to drop crafting materials, armor and weapon skins from our last go at Southsun, consumables, a mini Bikini Faren or Bikini Kasmeer, or a Sclerite Weapon Claim Ticket. This, coupled with my absolute dearth of luck regarding RNG with these types of boxes, makes me very happy that I'm utterly squicked out by the Sclerite weapons. They're fleshy, have blinking eyes, and seem to be perpetually dripping some sort of ichor.

Yum.

Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at elisabeth@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.