Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars' elite areas -- The Underworld

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars' elite areas -- The Underworld
The Underworld
All is still quiet on the Guild Wars 2 front, and I'm almost thankful since I was hoping to be able to go over The Underworld in Guild Wars this week. There's a lot more to say about this area because it's so much more difficult, but you can do it -- I promise. The general tips I gave last week apply to this area as much as the others, so take a moment to skim through those as well.

There's so much to say that I'm anxious to dive right in, so let's not waste any time. Follow along after the cut!

There are a few rules of the road specifically for UW, so let's start with those. First, everyone needs a reliable res. (This applies to FoW too, and I should have mentioned it last week.) I don't care if it's a hard res on your skill bar or a pile of Resurrection Scrolls in your inventory, but you never, ever want to be the last party member standing and not have any way of resurrecting anyone because the only alternative at that point is for the entire team to resign and head back to the outpost. There are no resurrection points in UW. Since The Underworld functions the same as Fissure of Woe with quests -- all or nothing -- if you go back to town you've lost all progress. Make sure you don't have to do that, because it's really galling to send yourself back by making everyone type /resign. Yes, I do speak from experience.

Second, your goal in UW is to finish all quests without getting any of the seven reapers (and a handful of NPCs) killed. The Underworld just loves to give you quests in which something horrible spawns to attack a reaper or NPC the second you click accept, so it's very important to do things in a certain order.

On the topic of doing things in a certain order: UW is very unlike FoW with regard to quest order. In most of FoW, you can run around and do most of the quests in whatever order you feel like. It doesn't matter much. In The Underworld, there are several things you want to do first -- namely, knocking out a few of the most dangerous quests first. It's less painful if you get them out of the way at the beginning rather than spend hours down there only to wipe at the very end on one of those. It sounds pessimistic, but if you're going to party wipe on one of them, at least you haven't wasted much time. (But you aren't going to party wipe because you read this guide and are awesome.)

Because the quest order, as well as the way you should do quests, is so important, I'm going to go through each quest and hit the high points as far as tips. As with last week, you should keep the Wiki guide handy if you need in-depth step-by-step instructions. As far as directions to different areas, I'm going to refer you to this map as a guide to where things are. Ready? Let's get started.

You'll need a solid, balanced group as you head in. There are many, many schools of thought on what to take down there, but my personal recommendation is for two good healers with a decent dose of prot on the side. Interrupts are also crucial because of the stupid dryders and their stupid Meteor Showers, among other things. (I don't mind when I'm the one using them, but when the enemies start dropping nukes on my head, I become a complete hypocrite and take it personally.) I personally like bringing Gwen and packing Tease or Panic along with a few interrupts. A Rit with a bar full of spirits is an excellent addition, particularly with some of the quests that require a party split, but the Rit needs to be prepared to yank the spirits out of AoE or not drop them at all until the AoE location has started. Those are my four must-haves for UW, but like I said, that's just me. (My other four are various types of heavy damage.) You'll find many opinions, so talk to friends, get recommendations, and experiment to see what you like.

When you load into UW, you'll find yourself on a circular platform with a few NPC spirits here and there nearby. One of them is Gwen's mother, and I definitely recommend that you take Gwen down there in your party at least once for a bittersweet dialogue between the two of them.

Before you do anything else, clear the area of all enemies. It's a fairly limited area because the three doors to other parts of the realm are closed when you start. Get rid of everything you can get to, then bring everyone back to the center and talk to the Lost Soul. Take his quest and clear the new enemies that spawn.

Your next goal is The Labyrinth. Head north/northwest through the now-open doorway, clearing enemies along the way. When you arrive in The Labyrinth, you'll see three dryders standing beside a large monument. Kill everything else and save those for last. That is a piece of advice you'll need at every one of the seven monuments because you'll find the three dryders at each one. Killing them spawns one of the reapers I mentioned above, and if they die you're finished. At each monument, make certain to clear all enemies in the area before attacking the dryers to eliminate the danger of something randomly attacking a reaper.

All right, so you've taken out the dryders and spawned a reaper. Remember last week when I said that you didn't need to worry overmuch about everyone yelling at you not to take Rastigan's quest? Now you need to worry. This first reaper has three quests, one of which is called Restoring Grenth's Monuments. Take that one. Only that one. If you take either of the other two, it's going to get very ugly in a hurry, so pretend you can't see them for now. You'll come back to them later. Restoring Grenth's Monuments causes the three dryders to spawn at every monument in the Underworld, giving you the ability to kill them and bring up the reapers, which is where you get your quests, so it's very important to take that quest right off the bat.

We've spent a lot of time on the foundation here, and while that's important, I don't want to ignore tips for the rest of the quests. You'll want to visit the Ice Wastes and the Chaos Plains first. The order doesn't really matter, but the common opinion is that those are the two most challenging quests. When you head to the Ice Wastes, clear everything along the way and in the area as instructed above, then kill the dryders to spawn the reaper and... stop. Don't take his quest right away because you'll need to do some setup first. This quest, Servants of Grenth, will cause a large number of enemies to spawn in two different places, and you'll need to split your party in two to take them all on. The wiki has an excellent map of the two spawn points. In the Ice King area, there will be a decent group of friendly NPCs to join in the fray, including King Frozenwind. Park part of your group up there and part of your group near the dryder spawn point. You'll want to stay between the dryders and your reaper because they'll kill him in a blink if they get to him. Frozenwind must stay alive, but he's pretty tough and has a small army, so he can handle himself a bit better than the reaper.

This is where I like having a spirit Rit in the party. The two spawn locations are far enough apart that your Rit can run up to Frozenwind's spawn point, drop some spirits, then run back to the dryder spawn point and drop a second set. Some of them will die of old age early in the battle, but it gives you a little edge up top. Once your group is split and ready, have one person take the quest. The dryders have what one of my guildmates accurately calls "trolltastic anti-farm skills." They can teleport to you and set you ablaze, they rain fire from the heavens, and they generally hurt large areas very badly. Kill fast. That's the best advice right there. Have someone call targets, focus fire, and take them out as quickly as you possibly can. Things are much more dangerous down there than with Frozenwind, so the group up top should keep an eye on the rest of the party. If it starts getting bad down there, don't be shy about running down to help. It's hectic and you'll probably shout a lot on Ventrilo, but you'll get it done.

The Chaos Plains are your "other first stop." A lot of the advice is similar: Clear the area first, then spawn the reaper and take his quest, The Four Horsemen. Split your party (again with the Rit trick if you've got one) according to the map: Ghozer and Kazhad on one side, Thul Za and Madruk on the other. Take the quest, stay between the enemies and your reaper, kill everything as quickly as possible.

Once you're finished here, my suggestion is that you make the Bone Pits your next priority. It's nearby, just through the stone arch near the Chaos Plains reaper, and it can be a little tricky. Once you've cleared the area and spawned the reaper, send all of your party save one back to the bottom of the inclined path. When the last party member takes the quest, four NPC spirits will spawn along with several groups of foes. The spirits will walk (omg so slowly) up the path to the reaper while the foes try to kill them. I'll give you three guesses what happens if a spirit is killed. Yep. Don't let them die. This can be tricky because the enemies are so scattered and the spirits are so slow, but if your party works together and keeps a close eye on the spirits, it's not too painful.

These are the most difficult parts of UW and the ones that you should certainly try to get out of the way first. There's a neat trick for getting around quickly once you start spawning reapers, and it saves a lot of time. Every reaper you spawn becomes a teleport point to the others. Simply talk to him after you finish his quest and he'll offer to send you to the other areas you've made available. So once you've finished in the Bone Pits, for example, you can talk to the reaper and simply teleport back to the Labyrinth instead of running all over.

With the other quests, my general advice stands: Pay close attention to the quest text so you know what's happening. For example, the quest text for Unwanted Guests in the Labyrinth is pretty clear: "The Vengeful Aatxe have been enchanted by a Keeper of Souls. No blade, hammer, or spell in any world can do harm to them while the Keeper lives. Kill the Keeper to disable his potent magics, and the Vengeful aatxe will follow him into death." If you read that, you'll know not to waste your time standing around trying to hit an invincible creature while it pummels you to death. Follow the general advice for these areas that I gave previously and you'll have no problem, I promise.

Once you've finished all the quests it's time to take on the big guy: Dhuum. Port back to the Ice Wastes and head north to the Hall of Judgment. I'll be very honest, there is no "hit the highlights and refer you to the wiki for an extended walkthrough" here. The wiki has a very short walkthrough and pretty much everything it has to say is a crucial point. I will add this: The walkthrough mentions resurrection scrolls as one of three possibilities for res while fighting Dhuum. I strongly suggest that every party member has several on hand before entering the Hall of Judgement. Res scrolls will work regardless of profession, energy, or any other factor, and you should never be without some at this point. If you run out during the battle, try to snag one from a party member with extras because it would stink to be the last person standing after all of these hours and not have any way to resurrect your teammates.

Hopefully this will get you over the hurdle of some of the tricky parts of UW. While this area is markedly more difficult than last week's Fissure of Woe, it's completely doable, and you'll find yourself with a shiny new statue. Best of luck, and don't forget the most important part: Have a good time!

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.
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