The February game update for Guild Wars 2 included an overhaul to the explorable modes of the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon. Many of the encounters have been tweaked to provide a more challenging and polished experience and in this video guide, we cover all of the major changes.
Ascalonian Catacombs has been one of the more popular explorable dungeons since launch due mainly because of how fast you could complete it. ArenaNet hopes that now players will want to run the new encounters because the challenge is engaging and fun.
I had the opportunity to run all three paths of the revamped dungeon and the video above illustrates my findings and general impression of the changes. Overall, I think the dungeon is an improved experience. Difficult content is scarce in Guild Wars 2 and I’m glad to see that several of the bosses and encounters take more coordination from your group.
The Ghost Eater boss at the end of explorable path 2 is the highlight of the changes. The mechanics are completely different and employ an amusing and fun mechanic involving weapons that look like Ghostbuster proton packs. Don’t cross the streams!
The Queen Spider can no longer be skipped and will assault your group with an immobilizing web that is deadly when combined with venomous pools on the ground. The Howling King and Colossus Rumblus boss fights are also revamped and for once you won’t be cursing the useless NPCs that follow you around for no reason. Both Hodgins and Warmaster Grast have key abilities that help you overcome these end bosses.
The redesign isn’t all puppies and flowers, however. The normal gravelings have a knockdown attack, which gets old very quickly. The graveling stalkers have a ton of health, burrow underground, and gain evasion on hit, making encounters with them long and not enjoyable. At least all champion level monsters are guaranteed to drop blue or better loot now.
Overall, the new Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon shows that ArenaNet has learned some things about encounter design since the launch of Guild Wars 2. I look forward to seeing how they handle the redesign for the other dungeons, particularly Citadel of Flame and Sorrow’s Embrace.