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Top Dragon Responder: Snowden Drifts - finally got it, recommend fixes. PLEASE fix.


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Top Dragon Responder: Snowden Drifts
Complete 5 Snowden Drifts Dragon Response Missions with all challenges active.
Champions Achievement

 

I just completed this achievement this afternoon after so, so, so many attempts since the Snowden Drifts DRM was introduced in the game. I practically gave up by the time Champions: Judgment rolled in.

 

But the changes announced for the May 11, 2021 Balance Patch gave me ideas. I noticed the following specific changes:

  1. “… a reversal to the bonus-damage state of the torment condition. Torment will now deal bonus damage to targets that are standing still instead of to moving targets.”
  2. “The Exposed effect that is placed on many boss enemies when their defiance bar is broken has been adjusted. It now increases power damage taken by 30% and condition damage taken by 100%.”

I wondered if going condition damage DPS would give me enough of an edge to beat the DRM with all CMs on, particularly the timer challenge.

 

I had a tanky support Scourge, and got to work re-building him for pure Condi DPS. This went from just replacing his traits, skills, and trinkets (didn’t work), to replacing even his armor (spent a lot on ascended mats to craft a new armor set), to fine tuning his runes (originally ran Runes of the Necromancer for the extra Condition Damage boost, ended up with Runes of Tormenting to max out Torment).
My build: http://gw2skills.net/editor/?PShAs+lNwgYPMFmJW6X9PXA-zRZYLRDKmLMygcKjcSgOKAvPIiQKJEdAmFYewA-e

 

The plan was to max out the condition damage on Ryland by breaking his CC bar for the exposed debuff while pouring it on as much as I could.
- Scourge’s Trail of Anguish gave me a way to give the escort NPCs swiftness.
- For CC, I enhanced my Scourge’s ability to fear and threw in Well of Darkness plus my Torch’s Oppressive Collapse.
- Ryland stands still when his CC bar becomes active, and stands still when his CC bar is broken.
- He still periodically gives himself the protection buff. It doesn’t protect him from condition damage, plus I could strip it off him so what strike damage I threw at him could contribute.

 

This wasn’t enough to get me through 3CM solo, but I could complete timer challenge solo with over 1 minute to spare, and I was only around 2 minutes too long with 3CM up. I wondered if doing it with 1 more person (to keep the event scaling down) would give me enough DPS to succeed.

 

It did. My 1st successful completion was done 2-man. I’d forgotten to turn off my LFG up and got a 3rd person in the group for my 2nd run, but my 2nd was successfully done 3-man. I tried again 2 days later, and my 3rd good run had 4 people after they joined too quickly for me to shut down the LFG. My last 2 runs were done 3-man. My 5th completion to finish the achievement beat the boss fight literally at ZERO seconds remaining.

 

I am grateful to finally get it. I am just so glad. But despite the success in obtaining this achievement after so much time and effort, I write to ArenaNet:

Please, please, PLEASE fix Snowden Drifts DRM.

 

The long struggle to get it- even if ultimately successful- makes me realize how difficult this DRM is. All the hoops and refinement and effort and strategy required puts the difficulty of Snowden Drifts DRM 3CM miles above any and all the other Top Dragon Responder achievements. It is an outlier in its demands from the players.

 

Yeah, it’s an achievement. It’s not supposed to be easy. But if you make things as hard as that, it just becomes an exercise in frustration for most players, rather than a challenge, especially when said players can get the other DRM CMs done. Living World content is supposed to be accessible to most or majority of Guild Wars 2’s players, even when you present particular challenges to them.

 

---

 

Please, please, PLEASE fix:

 

1. EMP bug that causes Ryland’s CC bar to instantly break without stunning him while giving him all his boons remains.
The point of breaking his CC bar is to prevent him from getting his massive number of boons while giving him the exposed debuff. Even if the intention is for players to use CC other than EMP, I had to use a trait-enhanced Fear, a repeatedly applying soft CC skill and/or another hard CC weapon skill to ensure his defiance bar breaks.

 

2. The Elite Frost Legion Shaman’s ability to banish players from the boss fight area with their charging launch skill remains.
During the two times Ryland summons 3 Elite adds that you have to kill to go back to fighting him, one of them will always be a Frost Legion Shaman who always spawns in the back of the Owl Lodge. They occasionally do a sliding charge attack that upon hitting a player launches them up into the air. This oftentimes somehow causes the player to teleport to the entrance of the lodge. Because the player will still count as in combat, he will be unable to mount and will have to walk back to the Shaman to fight him. Chances are, by the time the player gets back to them, the Shaman will have been out of combat long enough to also begin getting back health. Long duration conditions can delay this, but it is still possible for the Shaman to get back their health and reset their fight, further slowing down progress in the CM. This is crucial in a fight with a timer.
I am still unclear on what exactly causes this teleport glitch. I wonder if it has something to do with either hitting the lower ceiling at the back of the Owl Lodge, or if it’s related to activating your glider while still being launched into the air.

 

3. The Elite Frost Legion Bladestorms can move into Ryland’s dome where they can’t be attacked directly.
During the same Elite adds phases, the Bladestorms spawn close to Ryland’s impenetrable dome. It is possible- in fact likely- that they move into said dome while you fight them. The only way to continue damaging them is via ground-targeted AoEs or via conditions they already have on them. While the wise thing to do would be to lure them away from Ryland, it’s just too easy for them to move into the dome.

 

4. The ice stalagmite attacks can keep a player knocked down for too long.
During the fight, ice stalagmites can suddenly rise from the ground, knocking the player down. Furthermore, that’s not the end of their attack- they will do the same one more time, keeping you down for longer. Both times, they do a lot of damage and can put a player in a downed state. They have a telegraph, but in the chaos of frantically DPSing Ryland, it’s easy to get caught by them. You can try to equip a stun break to instantly get up, but what if it’s on cooldown? I had Trail of Anguish and that’s what happened to me, staying down and taking shots for several seconds. In addition, since the stalagmite attacks are multiple, they can overlap.

 

5. The ice-hurling portal above is merciless against the downed.
There is a portal hovering above the center of the boss fight area that hurls multiple ice attacks every so often. It has a telegraph, but it specifically targets players. If you’ve been downed one way or the other- very likely with all CMs on- it will interrupt your attempts to Bandage and get back into the fight. I have neither experienced for myself nor seen others ever Bandage themselves back into action in this DRM.

 

All I ask is to make this fight more fair and in line with other DRM 3CMs. Through and through, it’s just overtuned compared to other Living World content.

 

Thank you.

 

---

 

TIP: If you die during the boss fight and have to respawn at the Waypoint, the best mount to get back into the fight is the Roller Beetle. The Raptor can’t leap or jump high enough to reach the elevation the Owl Lodge is on, so you have to go around to get up. The Skyscale moves too slowly. But the Roller Beetle’s boost will allow you to roll directly up the elevation and take you directly back into the fight.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice.  Eventually I found two builds that I could reliably beat the CMs with:  Rifle Deadeye where I would just cheese him at long range, and Greatsword Chrono who would win by the largest margins but was also incredibly hard to play.  I also beat it with a holosmith once, but that had 5 seconds to spare and holosmith has been nerfed since then.  

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On 6/6/2021 at 12:11 AM, Blood Red Arachnid.2493 said:

Nice.  Eventually I found two builds that I could reliably beat the CMs with:  Rifle Deadeye where I would just cheese him at long range, and Greatsword Chrono who would win by the largest margins but was also incredibly hard to play.  I also beat it with a holosmith once, but that had 5 seconds to spare and holosmith has been nerfed since then.  


I tried GreatSword chrono but just couldn't quite swing it. What build were you using? I did better with diviner's and exploiting Illusions for quickness uptime than a full zerker's build, but guess I suck. And it's probably harder now because of the chronophantasma nerf.

And I agree with OP. Anet shouldn't just poop out content and leave it broken. This DRM is very weird because of how much it emphasizes buffing the escort and isn't even really a test of skill so to speak. Though there are worse things that are broken than this DRM.

Edited by Firebeard.1746
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22 hours ago, Firebeard.1746 said:


I tried GreatSword chrono but just couldn't quite swing it. What build were you using? I did better with diviner's and exploiting Illusions for quickness uptime than a full zerker's build, but guess I suck. And it's probably harder now because of the chronophantasma nerf.

And I agree with OP. Anet shouldn't just poop out content and leave it broken. This DRM is very weird because of how much it emphasizes buffing the escort and isn't even really a test of skill so to speak. Though there are worse things that are broken than this DRM.

 

It looked something like this:  http://gw2skills.net/editor/?PiwAExzlVw2YeMG2JOyKdNbA-zRIYRUzXG1mCVUB2uKpH-e but I also used a Powerful Potion of Icebrood Slaying.

 

This was also pre-nerf, but even with all the hits it received I still imagine that the chronomancer would still do well.  The main advantage that chrono has is boon strip.  It can usually CC Ryland during the channel phase, but if it doesn't the sword clones and the disenchanter take care of them.  This gives the build a massive damage boost when compared to others.

 

The rotation is... complicated and requires me to float my hands.  Basically you summon 3 clones in sword/sword at the start of each phase, and then wait for Ryland to start his channel attack.  Once he does that, you cast time warp, use continuum split while casting time warp to put it on a lower cooldown, then go through the standard sequence very fast:

 

Phantasmal Berserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Signet of the Ether

Phantasmal Beserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Mirror Blade

Well of Calamity (split second + rewinder + time sink)

Illusionary Wave

Continuum split ends.  Note that if you get 3 clones up, immediately use shatters in sequence.

Phantasmal Berserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Signet of the Ether

Phantaslma Berserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Mirror Blade

Well of Calamity

Weapon Swap then fight with sword.

 

Yes, that entire tower of sequences is committed to memory.  If things go well, Ryland's bar will break and you can do most of this rotation in relative peace.  If that doesn't go well, you'll have to do all of this while circling him and dodging his big spin.  The good news is that if you pull the continuum burst off... he phases almost immediately.  Then, once you take care of the elites on the sides, most of your skills should be off cooldown, letting you perform a mini-burst of the same kind.

 

The good news is, outside of this burst phase you'll have plenty of skills to keep you alive.  Sword + Sword is good because blurred frenzy and illusionary riposte let you block his high damage attacks while maintaining offence.  Greatsword is good because it can unleash its full damage at a distance.  Also note that while fighting ryland at range, he will frequently get confused and end up chasing your allies or a clone instead, giving you breathing room.

 

When I say that this build wins by the largest margins, I mean that it is still possible to solo this CM on chrono while dying twice.  Though post nerf it might be only once.  If everything goes well, you'll have minutes of time to spare.

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4 hours ago, Blood Red Arachnid.2493 said:

 

It looked something like this:  http://gw2skills.net/editor/?PiwAExzlVw2YeMG2JOyKdNbA-zRIYRUzXG1mCVUB2uKpH-e but I also used a Powerful Potion of Icebrood Slaying.

 

This was also pre-nerf, but even with all the hits it received I still imagine that the chronomancer would still do well.  The main advantage that chrono has is boon strip.  It can usually CC Ryland during the channel phase, but if it doesn't the sword clones and the disenchanter take care of them.  This gives the build a massive damage boost when compared to others.

 

The rotation is... complicated and requires me to float my hands.  Basically you summon 3 clones in sword/sword at the start of each phase, and then wait for Ryland to start his channel attack.  Once he does that, you cast time warp, use continuum split while casting time warp to put it on a lower cooldown, then go through the standard sequence very fast:

 

Phantasmal Berserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Signet of the Ether

Phantasmal Beserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Mirror Blade

Well of Calamity (split second + rewinder + time sink)

Illusionary Wave

Continuum split ends.  Note that if you get 3 clones up, immediately use shatters in sequence.

Phantasmal Berserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Signet of the Ether

Phantaslma Berserker

Phantasmal Disenchanter

Mirror Blade

Well of Calamity

Weapon Swap then fight with sword.

 

Yes, that entire tower of sequences is committed to memory.  If things go well, Ryland's bar will break and you can do most of this rotation in relative peace.  If that doesn't go well, you'll have to do all of this while circling him and dodging his big spin.  The good news is that if you pull the continuum burst off... he phases almost immediately.  Then, once you take care of the elites on the sides, most of your skills should be off cooldown, letting you perform a mini-burst of the same kind.

 

The good news is, outside of this burst phase you'll have plenty of skills to keep you alive.  Sword + Sword is good because blurred frenzy and illusionary riposte let you block his high damage attacks while maintaining offence.  Greatsword is good because it can unleash its full damage at a distance.  Also note that while fighting ryland at range, he will frequently get confused and end up chasing your allies or a clone instead, giving you breathing room.

 

When I say that this build wins by the largest margins, I mean that it is still possible to solo this CM on chrono while dying twice.  Though post nerf it might be only once.  If everything goes well, you'll have minutes of time to spare.

I'm not sure if I'm leet enough to pull it off, but I'll try. What did you do during the ore-boss phase? Just quickness from temporal curtain, or did you do chaos/manipulations + superspeed too?

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Just take skilled teammates with you, with a boon ripper (Rev or Nec), a qHFB and some Alacrity and decent DPS, and it will be so easy that no fix is needed, really. I don't see why so many people keep complaining about this mission. :classic_blink:

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Running this mix of Dire, Trailblazers and Carrion gear is a big part of your problem. The Carrion is specifically a suboptimal choice.

The Sigil of Corruption provides negligible value against a boss without constant adds. In this encounter the proc off the sigil won't last long enough to be of constant value during the Boss Phases.
Plaguelands is an objectively better elite in PvE than Ghastly Breech.

Replacing Dessicate and Well of Darkness with at least Epidemic, to trivialize the Portal Groups would be much better quality of life. Signet of Undeath would get you the Life Force you need to not be wheezing.
Soul Barbs rather than Fear of Death would represent a significant damage increase.

I am not saying that you don't have valid issues with some points, but there are some pretty significant suboptimal choices in your build and gear if you want to be soloing this comfortably.

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