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Did Ascalonian Catacombs story mode last night. It's incredibly refreshing to have a challenging dungeon setup again! Also I did some structured PvP last night on my necro. I'm not very good, but I have a support necro build that is really fun and seems quite survivable! More to come because I had a blast.
I too just finished AC Story mode today on my Engineer, who is now lvl 34.
I find the difficulty refreshing, but some choices infuriating. Terrain leashing on enemies is terrible. It makes LoS pulling and such impossible. Some of those Rangers, and their damned spike traps, are deadlier then most of the bosses!
Reminds me a bit of launch WoW, when no one had any idea what they were doing, and everything was pretty much guess work.
WvWvW is horrid on my server. We just get zerged by Jade Quarry, dominated every match. Supposedly, Aspenwood has a high population dedicated to PvE content, but it is depressing nonetheless. Haven't gotten around to fooling with sPvP, but I hear goo things.
I'm curious how the Exploration mode is different from Story, and how the rewards are similar/different.
Story mode involves the story of reuniting Destiny's Edge. In AC Story Mode, you end up fighting the ghosts of many characters from GW1, including . After each boss, you get a chest that has a number of random blue and green drops appropriate for your actual level (the dungeon de-levels you to 30 for the duration).
If you beat Story Mode, you get a yellow-quality hat of your character's armor class. Basically your character is guaranteed to be able to use it. It just may not have great stats
Story Mode is most similar to standard instancing in something like WoW, except that there's a lot more story tied up in the dungeon.
Explorable Mode is not tied to the Personal Story. It has three different paths you can take, so it's essentially three separate dungeons. Allegedly it's HARD but I haven't done it yet. At the end of each path, you get a token that can be traded to vendors in Lion's Arch (Fort Marriner) to get armor that is skinned according to that dungeon's theme. You can get any armor, so you're guaranteed to get something you can use.
Apparently depending on which path you choose in Explorable Mode, the events, encounters, and traps that occur differ. Also, it seems that dynamic events can randomly spawn in an explorable dungeon.
Explorable Mode is supposed to be different from standard WoW-style instancing because the dungeon can be completely different, even when doing the same path you've done before.
Explorable is HARD, a lot of those bosses can 1 hit people, or stun lock you while taking out large chunks of your health, you also get some tokens during the dungeon, but over half a the end. Be in mind it is meant to be hard, very hard, very very very hard, but it was fun because of that. Our group had to stop and discuss how to beat him, as we figured out each bosses weakness through trail and error. My group got through eventually, although we probably spent about as much on repairs as we got in actual gold (ok, silver, I'm not up to the point I get actual gold yet, just lots of silver), although the dungeon loot that I didn't want was my profit, along with a new piece of armor, and a lot of xp, plus those dungeon tokens.
According to something one of my party members said, but I can't confirm, is that it takes 13 runs to get enough tokens for items, but at least you can get the one you want, if you ask me.
Oh god no, Fort Aspenwood was so horridly biased in favor of the Kurzicks. They could win with almost any team comp while the Luxons had to have a perfect balance (and since the teams were random, this didn't happen much).
That said, I know the WvW servers are wonky right now. Dragonbrand is paired up against Fergesun's Crossing and Blackgate, but Blackgate can get onto the WvW servers like 6 hours before the other two can. By that point, they've built such a massive lead that nobody in the other two servers sees much reason to join the assured loss.