Loreclaw Expanse

May 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 8 Comments
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I should mention I played through most of the stress test last week. It was good times except the part where I was scrambling to take some screenshots I had forgotten I wanted.

Screenshots of jumping puzzles.

And with time ticking down I went to the one jumping puzzle I really wanted to talk about. The puzzle in southeast Plains of Ashford.

One thing I’m noticing about a lot of these puzzles is that they’re located along the walls of a zone. Each zone so far has at least one, which signals that puzzle fans are going to have plenty of content to consume.

On a side note, I wonder if Arenanet realizes that they’ve recreated face-scraping in Guild Wars 2. The time honored tradition of all original Guild Wars players who went after their cartography title. Players had to wedge themselves into every nook and cranny to uncover fogged over areas and add just .1% to finish the blasted thing. I find this pretty similar to Guild Wars 2 having achievements for jumping puzzles and the necessity of cramming yourself into small spaces to find them.

Spoilers ahead. No seriously, what is the point of a puzzle if you’re going to read about how I did it. Also this is one of the best puzzles I tried so don’t let me spoil it for you.

For those who don’t want to read this lengthy post, there is a video at the bottom.

There are two entrances and seemingly 2 ways to advance to the end of the puzzle. I think it’s pretty much genius to allow multiple solutions. It relieves frustration if you can’t quite finish something in one particular way. I think it also adds a certain amount of confusion or second guessing that is fun to work out. Figuring out what part belongs to what. It also allows you to replay the same puzzle.

Multiple choice isn’t standard but a couple of puzzles had options. I hope there are more going forward. It was fun to see, about halfway through loreclaw, another group of people advancing along an alternate route I hadn’t noticed.

Getting back to the beginning, there is an underwater entrance, and a cliffside entrance. I found the puzzle by bounding up the cliffs to a deer I saw loitering about in a spot you might think you’d be unable to get to. Getting closer I saw trees, then a cave, then walls, and ascalonian architecture.

On the other side of an entrance room I saw a ruined ascalonian hallway broken apart into 2 pieces. A small initial landing pad and a longer more complete hallway. Wrenched from their positions with gaps to be leapt across. Beams shattered, structures falling apart. Waterfalls cascading along the walls of the cave the ascalonians had built inside of. And this was just my first look.

The landing pad is your first jump. It is a long way down if you miss but with water below, a missed jump likely won’t kill you.

Other things will.

The landing pad and hallway are tilted away from the entrance, so you can’t see down the hall. The first jump is easy enough, but there is a reason the more complete hallway is hidden from view.

Traps.

IF you’re rushing it’s possible you won’t see the traps. Red circles are bad. However just a couple of jumps and good timing is all that’s necessary. You won’t need speed boosts or jumping skills (if you’re any good they’ll never be needed) but they can help.

At the end of the hall after the traps you can get a better view. It is beautiful. There is the sound of bats and water, multiple waterfalls and old ruins.

This is where I first saw the second group attempting path #2. We hadn’t seen them come in. I found out later they entered through the underwater entrance. Making their way along the cave wall it almost became a race between us.

My group quickly found a wooden beam that led away from the end of the hall. Crossing it gave me my first moment of sudden panic. The bastards turned on the shakey cam effect. Boulders fell from the ceiling and I thought I was going to fall off what looked like a very easy beam crossing.

On the other side I took this screenshot. You can see the end of the hall on the right, the eventual destination at the top of those stairs on the left.

I’m not good at screenshots. Solution? Hire help.

Over some rocks and after a jump I came to another hallway section. Only it was on fire. The sort of fire that you wish ex-lovers would burn in an eternal pit of. I won’t mention where I died in this puzzle as then this post would become much longer than the windbag post it has already become, but lets just say I died.

On my successful pass through here, I put on a speed boost, did some dodge rolls (which thankfully come with a half second of invulnerability) and jumped the gap to a set of stairs. Landing on the stairs I of course remembered to keep running since the final flame spout happens to be pointed directly at this position to nail anyone foolhardy enough to stand there in triumph.

At the top of this set of stairs was where we ended up meeting with the second group. We all struggled along the next few steps together. Mostly because we kept waiting for the others to make mistakes we could learn from.

To get to this point the second group had less traps but two dangerous mobs and more difficult jumps to overcome. You have to swim to a platform, jump onto some ascalonian foundations, make your way across beams and then hopefully take note of something you’ll find throughout GW2’s puzzles. Little platforms barely big enough for you character. You have to jump from one to the next. They often blend in and can barely be seen from a distance.

Eventually ascending to more beams, then a ledge, the 2nd group ended up spawning two nasty spiders and then continued their platform jumping until they reached the ledge where my group met up with them. It is visible in this screenshot.

Platform jumping is pretty fun. Except for when it isn’t.

From there you jump to more platforms, as you can see. We had about 6 people trying to get across this wall to the staircase visible in the first screenshot. The problem was the shakey cam returned. I’m not positive but I’m pretty sure all 6 of us were triggering the shakey cam over and over for each other. It was hilarious and fun and full of motion sickness.

I was lucky enough to be the 2nd person to make it to the stairs. Bless the 2nd group, one of them died so that we could live.

When you jump from these platforms to the staircase, surprise, you set off a trap. Red circles form immediately and if you don’t run up the stairs like a bat out of hell you’ll die instantly. Eventually all of us got here and we faced what we thought was the final jump together.

You have to take a leap of faith. There is a waterfall (should have taken a screenshot) and you jump through it hoping to land on something, anything. Fortunately one of our group was bold enough to jump first and somehow made it. We got them to stand in the location we needed to jump to and we mostly made it through unscathed.

On the other side you come to a treasure room of sorts. There’s a fun pop culture reference, a journal, and a treasure chest. Unfortunately this is not your reward. It’s a trap!

Upon finishing with that trap, you’re left with another puzzle. Where is my reward? Why didn’t I get the achievement. We looked around. There are some stairs that lead to some skelk, a ledge that leads out of the puzzle into the plains, but after a few minutes we noticed more telltale platforms. Jumping up above the chest into the dome of the structure eventually lead us to a button we had to stand on. This removes a portion of wall and happily the chest and achievement.

Of course I could have just pointed you all to the video below, it shows off most everything I’ve spoken of. I chose this one in particular because it showcases something I really like about the puzzle. The player starts out on path #2, but quickly switches to path #1. Very cleanly I might add.

Loreclaw is definitely one of the best puzzles I tried but there are other contenders. I’ll have posts about those as well if you guys like this one.

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8 Comments

  1. Very pleasant and appropriate choice of music to accompany that video.
    Well done!
    The “boxed in” fights are definitely among the more difficult ones. It’s my Third Law of GW2 combat; when there’s no room to move… bring friends.

    • Not my video, I should point out. I don’t think the fight was that bad but we were all above level so I’m sure it was easier for that reason.

  2. I wonder how many of these puzzles will end up being considered “group” content? These seem like the sort of content that is pretty much the definition of “out of the way” and “off the beaten path” which is fine, great actually, but if many of them also require you to have a few other folks with you be able to deal with whatever lies at the end of them, then they could suffer somewhat after the game has aged a bit.
    .
    Of course, the overall design of GW2 should mean that early and mid-level zones don’t turn into the complete waste lands we’ve seen in over MMOs after the majority of the population has passed through them, never to return again.
    Personally, I quite enjoyed my experiement with returning to lower level areas to test how well the scaling worked… it’s definitely not “like new” content, but there are some differences, and it is still challenging combat, but more entertaining with more of the options of the character unlocked.
    I suppose there will be at least a few folks, like myself, who will regularly return to earlier maps, and hopefully that will be enough to keep the puzzle content alive for folks experiencing it for the first time a few years after launch.
    /LFG ‘cuz this puzzle is SOOO cool!

    • There are enemies to fight in numerous puzzles but I’m not sure I felt it was necessary to go with a party for all of them. Certainly some I did on my own even having to fight veterans etc.

      When I returned to lower level content i was quite pleased by not being overpowered. In fact it was shockingly about the same difficulty.

  3. Responding to a request on Twitter about the comment box potentially not working. If you see this, I have succeeded.

    • Thanks the comment box isn’t opening properly at times.

  4. […] Hunter’s Insight — Loreclaw Expanse. “I should mention I played through most of the stress test last week. It was good times except the part where I was scrambling to take some screenshots I had forgotten I wanted. Screenshots of jumping puzzles. And with time ticking down I went to the one jumping puzzle I really wanted to talk about. The puzzle in southeast Plains of Ashford.” […]

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