by Andrew Gray on January 14, 2016
The Shatterer is one of Guild Wars 2‘s most iconic fights, and for many of our players it was one of the first experiences they had in the game during our early betas in 2010. It demonstrated just how epic dynamic events could be, really proving that the concepts we shared during the Guild Wars 2 reveal could and would be a reality. It even inspired a catchy song!
Unfortunately, it became possible to trivialize the fight over the years by exploiting “safe zones” that the majority of the Shatterer’s attacks miss, and permanently blinding the Shatterer has become the default strategy. Not only does that make the fight unchallenging—and when a five-story dragon isn’t a challenge, you know something ain’t right—it also causes issues with an achievement and parts of legendary journeys that require players to be hit with one of those mitigated attacks. The poor blind Shatterer really wanted to encase you in that crystal, but you just wouldn’t let it!
We’ve also added a lot of cool stuff to the game since 2010 that the fight isn’t, or rather wasn’t, taking advantage of. We’ve come a long way in five years, and we wanted to take advantage of all that shiny new tech!
Our number one goal was to fix the “permablind” issue, to unblock players who needed to be encased in a crystal to complete that step of their legendary journey. The “easy way” to do that would be to just make blind fail on the Shatterer, like it does on other world bosses. But coming off of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ development, defiance bars were fresh in our minds and seemed like a more interesting solution. We were able to add a defiance bar phase to the Shatterer’s “Shard Storm” phase, which beyond solving the permablind issue also added a new element to the fight. This is the phase when the Shatterer takes off and calls up his buddies to come teach you some respect, all while actively shooting you with lightning. Being able to prevent that with some timely CCs seems like a nice addition!
Defiance bars have also been added to the Pulsing Crystal Nodes that heal the Shatterer, preventing the crystals from taking damage until they’re broken. The nodes also heal the Shatterer for significantly more than they used to, so you can’t just ignore them and out-DPS their healing. There’s now a warning message and a bit of a delay before the healing kicks in to give players time to spread out to destroy the crystals.
Safe Zones and the Branded
Speaking of the Shatterer’s buddies, they’ve been hitting the gym as well. The Branded were too easy to ignore, too easy to kill, and not too good at that whole killing business themselves. Now the Shatterer’s Branded allies come meaning business. The rock dogs and devourers now stack vulnerability and bleeding respectively, and the Branded Lieutenant—and the newly added Branded Ravager (a minotaur)—just love to knock you down in their boss’s area attacks. Not only that, there are now patrolling waves of Branded that can and will say hello to the siege equipment if they’re not dealt with. Condition removal and stun breaks are advised. You have been warned! (Special thanks to Sean Hughes for his help on the new Branded species.)
The Shatterer has also done some self-reflection, now realizing that perhaps only attacking those directly in front of it may not be the soundest of strategies. People standing twenty feet to the left of a dragon lieutenant shouldn’t be ignored, and shooting a dragon in the face with a mortar shell should have consequences. All of the Shatterer’s attacks have been updated in some way—be it wider attack arcs, longer range, additional directions attacks can travel, or increased number of projectiles or targets. The only time you should be safe when fighting a dragon is when it’s dead or when you’re outmaneuvering it.
Siege Equipment and Gliding
The Shatterer is nice enough to land next to a bunch of siege equipment; the least we could do is use it! To help facilitate that, we’ve made a ton of improvements to the siege equipment. Mortars are now ground targeted instead of the previous “1 to turn left, 3 to turn right, hold 2 to set distance” functionality. The Healing Rounds skill is now just a separate attack instead of toggling the ammo type for the launch skill, and instead of only doing a small splash heal, they now also apply protection to allies and leave behind med kits for them to pick up. It’s nearly impossible to consistently hit allies with a high-arcing mortar round while they’re on the move, but they sure will appreciate med kits raining from the sky! The mortar also now turns four times as fast, because it was slower than a quaggan scholar before.
The turrets do more damage and have a faster rate of fire to bring them closer to the effectiveness of the mortars. They also now have a second skill that creates a field of caltrops to cripple and bleed foes. Both the mortars and the turrets have crowd control on at least one of their attacks so they can contribute to defiance bars.
Since this update coincides with Central Tyria gliding, we’ve also added launch pads pointing in the Shatterer’s direction. Those who have the Gliding Mastery will be able to deploy their glider midair and will be given a Bombardier bundle item that lets them chuck bombs at the things they don’t like as well as throw med kits at the things they do. Don’t be shocked if flying in an electrical storm surrounding a dragon has its own unique risks, and a word of advice—if you see the dragon raise his hand in a “I’m going to stick you inside a crystal” sort of way, you’d be wise to use Stealth Gliding. Crystals are not aerodynamic.
With greater risk comes greater reward. The Shatterer now has its own achievement category with 12 achievements and a meta-achievement that rewards a new Branded back-slot item. The daily reward chest now gives two guaranteed rare items instead of one and grants a sizable chunk of experience. And you’ll now be able to collect tokens to create Shatterer-themed decorations for you Guild Hall. (Special thanks to McKenna Berdrow and James Barwick for their help on the new rewards!)
It’s been a blast working on the Shatterer, and we hope you enjoy the new challenge!