Here we are at the penultimate episode of Guild Wars 2 Season 1 content restored and revamped! The pieces are finally starting to fall into place, as Scarlet gathers more allies and monologues more of her evil plot against us.
The titular tower houses an instance which is an interesting artifact of Guild Wars 2 design experimentation – not quite a world boss, not quite a meta-event, not quite a dungeon (although it was later reworked in the Nightmare fractal) – and wondering how it would be managed. Let’s dig into Tower of Nightmares and find out!
The episode opens with a letter from Lady Meade inviting us to help with a mysterious, invisible, but solid, thing in Kessex Hills. When you enter Kessex Hills, note the loading screen: it has been restored to its original graphics. Current players will know that the ruins of the Tower of Nightmares have littered this area for years now, and the loading screen has long shown this broken ruin. This change is likely due to the fact that if you log in while this chapter is active, the Tower of Nightmares will actually be back in the open world!
I’m not sure what level of Sorcerer Sorcery is required on the ArenaNet side. Are the versions of the map with the tower and after it destroyed separate instances? What if I haven’t completed the chapter and try to teleport to friends who did? Will we see different things? Will it be solid for me but not for them? However, it works, it’s cool to see this originally open world feature back in the open world!
Once inside the story instance, we’re greeted by a group of Seraph Guards…and a few less friendly Krait and Nightmare Court, who have recently formed the Toxic Alliance under Scarlet’s leadership. It’s Scarlet for you, always bringing people together and helping them achieve their life goals.
Can we talk about the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to give these Nightmare Court specific NPCs a downed state instead of just dying like everything else in the world? I understand and it makes sense; they are sylvari like many player characters, so why shouldn’t they have a downed state? But it’s just a really annoying mechanism to deal with. At one point while I was playing, I came down together with a Nightmare Courtier, and we both sat on the floor, comically alternating between rocking and healing. It lasted a good minute or two. Other than a handful of bosses, it’s never really existed before or since, and I’m okay with that. The only reason I can imagine is that someone at ArenaNet thought the studio could sell permanent finishers to PvE players, and apparently that didn’t work out, so they (thankfully) gave up on the effort.
After going through the Toxic Alliance, you’ll find Marjory Delaqua and Kasmeer Meade, who explain that Kas was able to dispel the cloak on the previously unseen tower. Next up is the “Go grind events in this zone” section of this episode that these Season 1 episodes enjoyed so much. If you want to skip this section and you’ve been accumulating Pristine Toxic Spore Samples all these years, you’re in luck because you can just hand over a bunch of samples to Jory to continue the story.
Once you’re done with your busy work, get ready for… busier work! At least this time it’s something new.
At this point, you can enter The Tower of Nightmares itself, which is a large open instance with a series of bosses to defeat as you progress. Difficult to compare it to others Guild Wars 2 content that followed. It’s more linear than a meta-event, but it’s open to more people than a dungeon, raid, or the fractal that was later based on it. It was just a little too hard for me to make much progress on my own during my press preview last week, but I imagine it wouldn’t take more than two or three seasoned gamers to make the jump to a decent clip, even so of course the more the merrier.
As for the aforementioned grind, to progress through the story, there’s a bar that needs to be filled by completing events in the tower, or by donating those beautiful Pristine Toxic Spore Samples again. For those of you who didn’t play this content when it was new, I’m not going to spoil what awaits you at the top of the tower, although if you’ve done the Nightmare Fractal you already have a pretty good idea.
As for rewards, players can complete achievements for the new Antitoxin Gloves skin and, as with previous versions, can complete other achievements for a trinket that can be forged into the Kasmeer-themed Lucid Dreamer dagger. . And as usual, there is yet another bag of 20 slots to complete the story.
The Tower of Nightmares was an interesting experiment on how Guild Wars 2 could do with content, and it’s fun to revisit, but ultimately I think it’s for the best that it remains a one-off thing. Area-wide open-world meta events are much more appealing to me than this cramped instance, and it’s much easier to just walk around an area and get carried away by its meta compared to that , which requires searching for a specific instance.
Still, it’s fun as a one-off thing, and as you’re probably tired of hearing me say by now, I’m thrilled for any players new to Season 1, who can finally bridge the awkward gap. between the base game story and Season 2.
Only a few more months until the final chapter of Living World Season 1 and its accompanying strike mission! I can’t wait to relive this pivotal story with everyone and challenge the revamped battle on the Breachmaker.
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Flameseeker Chronicles: First Impressions of Guild Wars 2’s Restored S1E4 Tower of Nightmares
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