So here we are, the last major set of instances before the real raids begin. Dungeons in Wildstar are absolutely no joke; don’t even think about queuing for them as a fresh level 50 or if your equipment still contains any greens. While it might be possible to squeak through a few silver veteran adventures, dungeons require too much coordination along with punishing damage checks at almost every corner.
Obtaining silver in veteran dungeons is a fairly painful process, and one that isn’t much different than gold to be honest. All dungeon ratings are based on time and completing all of the challenges or optional events. Gold requires a perfect run with no deaths, all challenges and optional events complete and a very short window of time (the exact amount depends on each instance respectively). The only difference between gold and silver is that for a silver run you can die, but generally only once due to time constraints, and you don’t have to finish the optional event.
Time to Gear Up, Dungeon Style
The great thing about gear in Wildstar right now, or awful depending on whom you ask, is that most of the best equipment in the game is crafted and can be purchased fairly cheap in the auction house. Because of flawed crafting and stat systems, many pieces of equipment have only a single incredibly high stat with a few minor attributes. This single stat is generally higher than what appears on veteran adventure epic gear and since most secondary stats have awful returns they’re significantly less important.
Unfortunately, this represents another broken aspect of Wildstar that was likely not tested properly because there’s supposed to be a patch in the works to nerf crafted gear. The bright side, however, is that any brand new level 50 character can buy an amazing set of gear for 5 to 10 platinum. For some people this might seem like a high price, but with a few good finds, and making proper use of trade skills, this is a fairly meager amount in the long run. Currently the most important stat for every class is whatever gives assault, or support, power and then strikethrough rating to avoid the relatively high deflect rating on dungeon bosses.
For those without the proper amount of cash to buy crafted gear it’s best to maximize use of daily quests, in order to make a lot of money, and pray to the RNG gods during veteran adventures. I recently discussed certain issues regarding how adventures only dropped epic gear from gold rewards and how it was creating a toxic system where groups would immediately disband after losing gold status. Well, Carbine decided to “fix” this issue by allowing epics to drop in silver and bronze runs as well. Unfortunately, the medal loot now rolls from all possible equipment in the instance, which means that even gold runs have a less than 10% chance of dropping epics now. Since the changes, I haven’t seen a single epic drop from veteran adventures, but there are rumors that they still exist.
Runes Matter Too
At first I was pretty hesitant about equipping runes to my pre-raiding gear, but I didn’t realize the potential they possessed at such a relatively low cost. Honestly, most runes are pretty cheap, maybe 10 gold or so to make and they can increase stats by a good amount. The issues with runes is that the slots granted by items are fairly random and only a handful are terribly useful. On top of that, there are so many choices that could easily overwhelm the inexperienced crafter. Damage-based classes want to increase assault power and their primary stat, while healers want support power and tanks require additional deflect rating and health. Avoid everything else if at all possible, but even additional critical chance is better than nothing.
What should be avoided at this stage, however, are the incredibly overpriced Shadow Blast Runes. Don’t get me wrong, the Fusion Blast rune set they create is unmatched in power right now, but at around two platinum each, and the base set requiring eight, that’s a huge cost to add to equipment that’s probably going to be replaced in a week or so. Instead, try the Assassin rune set, which is slightly less powerful, costs a fraction, and only requires four pieces to be useful. Remember, runes are your friends and that extra 100 assault power is going to make a big difference during boss fights.
At this point in time, I’ve cleared Veteran Stormtalon’s Lair, receiving a silver medal, and a few parts of the other dungeons. Stormtalon’s Lair is regarded as the easiest veteran dungeon in Wildstar because it’s quick and the boss rotations are fairly easy to learn. Most of the normal monsters in STL are relatively easy, but the Thundercall Shamans need to be interrupted in order to avoid an unnecessarily lengthy fight. The first boss is Blade-Wind the Invoker, who does a bit of AOE and has four shielded minions surrounding him. He’s not too much trouble, as you can see below, and requires minimal coordination to interrupt attacks and avoid telegraphs.
The second boss in STL, and debatably the easiest, is Aethros. His first phase is a simple “tank & spank” with some random AOE on the ground. Eventually he’ll begin to dissipate and three Gusts of Aethros will spawn; these can’t be taunted but die pretty quickly. While killing the gusts party members will begin spawning tornadoes under their feet. The easiest way to deal with these is to drop them all on one side because once the gusts die everyone has to race through the tornadoes and interrupt Aethros. The rest of the fight is just a rinse and repeat above. He doesn’t do much damage and we were able to take him down with only four players.
Stormtalon is the final boss and likely going to be the bane of most groups in STL, and rightfully so. Without enough damage this guy is going to be virtually impossible because he features multiple DPS checks throughout the fight (around 3,000 damage per second should be enough). Shortly after the fight begins, lightning will start to spawn under players’ feet, which takes a bit of practice to avoid. After he receives enough damage Stormtalon knocks everyone back and begins to channel a massive telegraph that slowly engulfs the room from outside in; this needs to be interrupted as soon as possible. Depending on how much damage your group does this phase will be repeated 1 to 3 times. The next phase is similar, but instead the telegraph is a giant storm where one party member is chosen to act as an eye to the hurricane. The damage received from the storm is massive so it’s essential that party members stack on each other; this phase is similar to the Garuda fight in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. Eventually the storm will dissipate and lightning AOE will spawn again. The number of phases is completely reliant on how fast he dies.
These bosses aren’t a cakewalk for anyone, so expect to die many times before getting a perfect, or near perfect, run. I’ve spent hours with groups trying to get the fights down and some players just can’t handle it. Hopefully these tips will give that little edge needed to bring Stormtalon and his minions to their knees.Related: Column, MMORPG, Sci-Fi, The Nexus Times, Video, Walkthrough, Wildstar