It’s a kind of game introduction video from ArenaNet. If you will watch it for the first time and don’t know much about the game please not be very exited about “Ever changing world”, “Unique personal stories” and great “Roleplaying experience”. These three aspects – speaking honestly – not implemented as good as ArenaNer spoke of. But the rest features are true.
When I tried the Caudecus’s Manor for the first time I was kinda shocked how easy this dungeon is if you compare it to Ascalonian Catacombs (despite the fact that AC should work like an introduction to the game dungeons and so it should be not very hard).
Our party had problems only with the first boss (the golem). It can one-shot you in a blink if you’re not quick enough to dodge its rockets. The other bosses and mobs were not a problem at all. Also there are very little amount of trash mobs in the Manor, that’s why it was easy too.
Later I ran Caudecus’s Manor with another group to find out that I was lucky the first time to have two level 80 guardians in the group. They really knew what they’re doing and kept all damage to themselves. Those guardians were grinding the Manor and we completed two runs in about 40 minutes. “The easiest way to get 30 silver in game” – they said.
But with less organised group Manor became harder. My third run took about an hour. We managed to kill the golem without too many wipes but then died several times in row on the last group of mobs (queen slavers).
And then ANet added the anti grind system and increased the Caudecus’s Manor difficulty.
I decided to try this dungeon after update and was kinda shocked again. It became like 300% harder than before. There are several champion and veteran mobs added here and there, the quantity of trash mobs in some areas is increased. Also (not sure about it) it seems that fear condition caused by hounds masters is longer now. It takes 5 seconds to burn out and this is a lot (especially if fear effect chains in combo).
I spent about 1.5 hour in the updated version of Manor. The group was far from perfect, I have to say. Not very skilled warrior, mesmer and thief which are kept dying almost instantly, two engineers (me included) as support. So we had A LOT of wipes but managed to complete Manor anyway. In the end I received 1340 XP and 70 copper. It was my 4th time running Manor in row so yes – rewards were clearly downscaled. After the selling all blue and green loot I had enough money to cover armor repairs. No profit it all.
However, it’s ok to me. I’m a casual type player and simply don’t have time to grind dungeons one after another. And even if I had time I’d preferred to simply put some real money in game to get what I want. Mindless grinding is not fun to me. I don’t give a fuck about those whiners on forums crying that everything is ruined and ways to getting rich easily is cut now.
Everything is fine. ANet just keeps the balance to make sure the game economy will not fail.
But what I lack is some visual hint while entering the dungeon that rewards will be downscaled due to anti-grind system. Maybe little red exclamation mark like on hero UI button (it’s showing after the level up to notice that new trait point is available). And maybe some additional info on mouseover that mark – like “You’ve done this dungeon 5th times in row, rewards will be downscaled”.
I make suggestion on official forums. If you like this idea please give it some love.
Lornar’s Pass is the most contradicted area regarding its general design among the all areas I’ve seen for far. Basically I liked only three thing about this zone:
– Durmand Priory fortress (shame it looks far more impressive on concept art than in game, though)
– Steampunk-like creatures on frozen lake
– Pirate base (really refreshing after long wandering in the snow)
The rest area of Lornar’s Pass is boring. There is too much free space here. Events are not impressive and very repeatable. And if you play as Norn (I’m a Norn), Lornar’s Pass is the third “nordish” big area mostly covered with snow you travel in. I liked that winter theme at the start. It was one of the reasons why I did choose norn for my main character. But I noticed that those white covered terrains became more and more boring to me.
My early impression of Lornar’s Pass was awful. I ran away to Charr’s land to forget about the snowflake and freeze for some time. Eventually I came back because character personal story guided me back to Norn locations. Note: I’m in the Durmand Priory order and maybe that’s why I still roaming in Norn lands. Durmand Priory is operating from Lornar’s Pass.
Anyway I explored the whole map. It was not as hard as I predicted. I had some problems with Venison Pass vista – just too much ettins there, I died twice trying not just run through them but fighting all along. I’m glad that I will leave Lornar’s Pass soon (still need to complete story mission here). And I hope that in further adventures there will be no such boring place like this.