Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eternal Battlegrounds Jumping Puzzle

So, I have briefly talked about this puzzle in previous articles, but I haven't seen anyone really take the time to explain the beauty of this place.  It was called a mini-dungeon in the preview to this BWE, but let's be honest, this zone is gigantic.  I ran it twice over the weekend, the second time was to guide a friend.  The dungeon can be overwhelming at first, there are just so many areas to explore, and it's hard to find the exact place to start.  I spent probably thirty minutes before I found the "real" path, and was walking from end-to-end trying to find it.  If you didn't get a chance to try the dungeon this BWE, I highly recommend making time for it.  It's large, intricate, resource-node rich, terrifying, frustrating, and hilariously fun.

If you are interested, the dungeon is open to any player in the Eternal Battlegrounds, as long as your realm owns one of the three central keeps.  You can access the dungeon by taking the underground entrance in each of the three keeps, and to your left will be the entrance. If you are keeping up, that means there can be three realms of enemies in a dungeon.  What makes matters even more terrifying is that this dungeon is a glorified, gigantic jumping puzzle.  Yeah, I could see this becoming a great PvP area.  To add to this aspect, there are traps. To my surprise and immediate delight, traps work just as well on allies as it does enemy players.  I'll be honest, I may have set off traps on my friends and allies.  I have even been hit with one myself, and sadly, they are a little disappointing.  They don't hit you particularly hard, or at least the ones I experimented with.  I heard rumors of a knockdown log and a series of boulders, but I did not get to play with them. I was really excited to unleash a pack of veteran mobs on my friend, and yet, they literally did nothing to him. The mobs aggro radius is extremely small, they are rather slow, and they don't do that much damage.  Though, I will be the first to admit it was quite hilarious.  My friend kept wondering why different types of mobs kept populating the area, all the while I'm stifling my laughter from the microphone, vigorously pulling the trap chain from above. After releasing different mobs for close to 10 minutes on 3 different people, I only ever saw one actually hurt a person significantly.  But even she got away safely.  I was really hoping to see some extremely dangerous traps that could easily lead to a player's demise, however, much to my dismay, I didn't see any of that.

If you are a PvE player, or find yourself overwhelmed by the opposition, there are wells along the sides that provide you a stealth buff.  The stealth buff lasts a particularly long time, and I did not ever check if it was permanent.  It is important to note that any skill or attack will break this buff, so use it wisely.

So like I said, I had explored several nooks and crannies before I finally found the main path of the dungeon.  I even found two stealth wells before I finally figured the place out.  One tip to jumping puzzles, take your time doing these, don't rush.  The more you try to rush, the more you will fail, and the more frustrated you will get.  While many people did the puzzle for their first time in close to an hour, I think I spent a little over 2 hours on it.  In my defense, I had not watched/read any guides on the puzzle before attempting, thus everything I did, I spent time actively thinking through it.  I just get so much more of an accomplishment at the end when doing this. The probably biggest contributor to my lengthy run was my impatience.  The second run probably took less than thirty minutes, and was only slowed down by showing my friend where to jump.

Close to two-thirds of the way through the dungeon, the dark room lies in wait.  This place is pitch black.  As an idiot, I naturally run in immediately, only to find myself stumbling in the dark for thirty minutes. At first, I was like, well let me try to just walk blindly across the room, maybe its just a walk across. ArenaNet can't actually make it any more complicated than that. Right?  Wrong.  And then as I got more confused and lost trying to find a non-existent exit, I panicked.  How the hell was I going to get out?  I decided to hug the wall on my right, and continue doing so until I find the stairs that led to the entrance.  Only then did I realize this was a jumping puzzle.  As you might imagine, you can't see anything.  Several moves of a character light up the area, for example, the always handy cluster bomb of the thief.  I began using the ground targeted icon to identify walls, jumps, and platforms and was slowly progress.  At this point, I was cursing under my breath and calling ArenaNet many, at the time seemingly appropriate, vulgar names.  They wanted me to find my way through a jumping puzzle, navigate traps and enemy players, and now jump in the dark.  What the hell is wrong with them? It was only then that I saw a burst of flame out of the corner of my screen.  I was like, oh of course rangers get the nice little torch on the ground.  To explain, I thought he was using a profession skill from the torch to make a fire on the ground.  It was only when he laughed in chat and explained for me to restart the dark room and pick up a torch, that I realized the error in my ways.  There was a torch that you could pick up right before you entered that would have made my ordeal considerably less painful.

It should be noted that you will have to master timing of dodging pretty decently before attempting this puzzle.  In the dark room there are these gargoyle head statues that blow air that push you off the edge.  One dodge can get you passed three of these statues.  However, later in the dark room there are a set of at least 12, (hint: you don't have to pass all 12).  So no, you cannot dodge all the way through them.  Instead, there is a space after every three that allows you to between dodge rolls.  Let me just say though that these are nasty, and will probably force you to restart more than once.  And let me provide you a tip.  If you start your roll on the outside and you dodge diagonally so that you end your roll right after the third statue on the inside, closest to the wall, even if you get hit, you will not fall off the platform.  It's a great technique that was developed through my sweat and tears, and allows you to pass this trap quite easily.

Then, there's the what I am going to call the caged animal room.  There is a jumping puzzle, that if you fall, places you in front of several cages with packs of veteran mobs.  At the top of this portion of the puzzle, there is a trap that opens up one of the four cages. Once again, this trap needs to be buffed substantially, it's just too easy at the moment to bypass the animals. Once you get past the dark room, the jumping puzzle becomes substantially easier, and falling does not force you to restart the last twenty minutes of work.

The prize at the end is decent.  I got several blue pieces of armor and two siege blueprints, but the reward may need to be buffed.  And, is there any word on the repeatability of these?  Are we allowed to receive the prizes to them every "new" WvW match?  Or are the WvW puzzles something of a one-time thing?  If anyone has an answer, please let me know below in the comments section.

Overall this dungeon was significantly harder than the other jumping puzzles I have tried (3 in all).  The traps while fun, are not very dangerous, and I have a feeling that enemy players will be far more terrifying.  I can't wait to see an enemy team in here, and I have to warn you, if you ever are facing Crystal Desert, you may just find a thief in there that wants to kill you.


  1. Five bucks there is more to the puzzle than people have seen already. While there might not be a chest, there might be some other cool tidbit hiding in there.

  2. @Finit: I don't know, I managed to go there solo when there were no enemies around, and I also spent around 2 hours exploring every little detail of it, and the only extra thing I could find was the stealth wells.

    @Entombed: if you want an even easier and idiot-proof tip for how to handle the fire gargoyles: first, turn off double-tap to dodge; you probably should do this anyway so you don't dodge out of a platform when you're just trying to adjust your position for a jump. Second, slowly walk backwards towards the gargoyles to get ready to dodge, and then use the dodge button (on the interface, or with the V shortcut). That way you'll dodge exactly the correct distance to end at the next resting space.

    I agree with your assessment of rewards and strength of the traps. The items I got were "okay", but nothing special, and the only real danger from the traps is that taking damage makes you slower so you can miss the next jump if you don't wait, but I never felt that I was in danger because someone was controlling the traps, or that they were able to slow my progress. Fighting actual people is the only true danger there.

    1. Kemwer, yeah I started using V to dodge on puzzles. However, I still had some problems occasionally. I didn't know you could turn off that dodge feature in-game. I can't tell you how many times double tapping a directional button when trying to re-position myself threw me off a platform.

      Finit, I have to agree with Kemwer here. I saw everything in that place I promise. They may add some things to the dungeon later, but for now, I am pretty happy with the place. Just tweak the damage on spikes, possibly add a waypoint available to only those who are inside the dungeon, and maybe provide greater rewards. If they provided greater rewards specifically in the blueprints department, I think a realm's control over the chest could really be important. By placing more importance of control over the place, the dungeon would become a gold-mine for PvP and would really be a full-fledged addition to WvW strategy.

    2. Well you two are probably right, considering I didnt get to play this last bwe. The videos made the room look enormous. I just remember watching this other video of person running up to a wall and it looked like nothing. The hopped up it slowly for about five minutes and all of a sudden they came out to the cavern. All I could say was wtf? How did this person even know to jump there. Sadly I cannot find it now... XC