The most important thing with the new update for me personally is that gliding is becoming a big part of the content. When I played through Gorseval last time, I had a ton of fun with the experience of using gliding to escape from the attacks and swoop back into battle in tandem with my squad members. I had hummed “Flight of the Valkyrie” to myself as we swept in like a flight of bombers. Well, now we get to be bombers.
The fire bases that The Shatterer so kindly fights in front of have a series of jump pads that launch players high above the battlefield so that they can deploy their gliders. Doing so during the fight unlocks skills that allow you to drop bombs and health packs to the ground below you.
The mortars and turrets are updated to deal more damage and be more responsive. I didn’t get a chance to check out the turrets, but the mortars are easier to use while still being difficult to hit moving targets with. They feel less clunky than the original implementation did. While we were fighting, it was mentioned that the health packs from the mortars assist in reviving downed players. Making sure that your allies are up as much as possible is a big part of the fight so that is a big plus.
We met at the waypoint in game with a large collection of developers and other press members to prepare for the fight. We were going to get two chances at the fight. Sadly, this was where the first technical issue happened and I missed the first attempt completely, which failed. On the second attempt we set up with a basic plan. We split everyone involved into squads that would handle the turrets, man the gliders, and smash The Shatterer in the face. It turns out that a bit of teamwork helps out quite a bit.
I had planned to spend the fight raining death from above and using the stealth gliding mastery to avoid being frozen in crystal, but it didn’t work out that way. The Shatterer came down, I hopped on my glider, and that’s when the animations started. My computer just couldn’t handle the explosions and my frame rate plummeted. I saw The Shatterer’s hand come up and I tried to go into stealth mode, but I was too late and I crashed to the ground as a crystal. Splat. It didn’t help that I was distracted looking around to see if there were any updrafts that would let me stick around without having to relaunch.
At this point, I am now between The Shatterer’s legs. I pop into the options menu to reduce all my settings while some kind (or foolish) soul worked to revive me. On the lowest settings the game became playable again, but there was no way I would be able to control my glide, watch for the crystal attack, drop bombs, and drop med packs with the stuttering frame rate I still had. Looks like it is time to upgrade again. So I demoted myself from Air Captain to Grunt and dodge rolled across what I think was a pool of corruption from a breath attack into the relative safety of the mob of other players smacking away at the left leg. Turret and mortar fire exploded around us as med packs from the mortars and gliders dropped in from above.
At about this point, the first healing crystal phase began where six (I think) large crystals spawn and start healing the dragon. This heal is no joke. Each tick heals a huge percentage of health for each crystal that is alive when the tick occurs. After the first phase he was almost back up to full HP. The group was surprised by just how much he had healed from that phase. We needed a better way to handle the crystals or we would never be able to kill him.
The second time, the ground mob split up better to take out different crystals simultaneously. I split off to run to the back right crystal, dropping as many CC spells as possible on top of it to get the break bar down so we could damage the crystal. This time he healed up much less and we started making progress. The last time he barely got off a heal at all and we burned him down. The run ended with a good number of the devs and press guests dancing in front of the reward chest. Sometimes the best part of these things is the goofing off.
World bosses aren’t really my type of content. Now, I have played the world bosses in GW2 but it isn’t the type of content that calls to me or that I hop on and run straight to. The new Shatterer is no exception to that experience for me. I had a good time, and I would say that the fight is more enjoyable than it was previously, but it still doesn’t hold an appeal as a repeatable form of content for me. I had much more fun with Gorseval and the raid than I did with the new Shatterer.
A lot of that has to do with the type of play involved. With fights as large as a world boss, I don’t feel engaged or get a sense of accomplishment. I am not doing something on my own or as part of a small team working together. I feel more like I am playing alongside people than with people. It just doesn’t fit. I want to feel like I am part of a team, not a mob.
Blasting The Shatterer with spells was fun and all, and I do genuinely look forward to experiencing the fight from the air, but I’m not part of the target audience here. That’s just the nature of a world boss.
However, for those that do like the world boss style content, the new Shatterer is much better than before. The mortars are more interesting, having multiple viable targets to focus on and the healing kit launches. The healing crystal stage has players scrambling out in different directions, dodging branded and aoe spells trying to get to the crystals in time to prevent the new huge heals and break bars. And as you know, the addition of the glider bombers is really interesting to me.
There just seems like a lot of different ways to participate in the reworked content. This should revitalize the fight for both those that actually like world boss fights and those that just fight them for farming purposes.
That being said. Gliders! Woohoo!