Scarlett is dead, but her actions awoke the Elder Dragon Mordremoth. He is holed up in the Heart of the Maguuma using our friends, allies and other jungle creatures to try and kill us. We have to venture into the jungle if we want to put an end to his rampage and save Tyria.
The Silverwastes was introduced in the previous Living World season and gave us an idea as to what we could expect from the new maps. Multiple layers in the areas, denser population of enemies and Mordremoth’s minions. The Silverwastes reminded me of Orr. The difficulty is higher, and you can’t just walk through there and expect to be unharmed.
If you picked up Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns during the sale, read this before you start off. If you’re an entirely new player to Guild Wars 2, and have not upgraded your free account or core game then please do not start out in Verdant Brink. I’ll explain why and how you should prepare.
Kill or be Killed
You’ll find a few different types of enemies in the jungle: saurians, Mordremoth’s minions, tengu, chak and hostile hylek tribes.
There are raptors living in other Maguuma areas, like Bloodtide Coast. But once you enter Verdant Brink, the really big dinosaurs appear. And they will crush you. And bite you. Maybe the most annoying saurians are the pocket raptors. While they’re unbelievably cute, a pack pocket raptors can do more than enough damage to kill you.
If you’re running through an area, you should try to avoid saurians. They will snare you and knock you down. Mordremoth’s minions are like the saurians, and just as deadly. They come in groups with lots of crowd control. They mostly come out during the night.
[Beginner’s tip] Don’t try to run through Verdant Brink at night with your newly rolled, level 80 boosted character. You won’t make it. Find a group and tackle events together.
Chak are a new type of creature living in Tangled Depth. They are the ones that drove out the Asura from Rata Novus. They feed on Ley energy and thus are attracted to a group of people using that energy to power their inventions. They also have a set of nasty crowd control abilities, but they're easily out run when you're not hit by the CC. Use your mobility skills to skip larger groups more quickly.
The hylek aren’t new, but they are the main humanoid inhabitants of the jungle. There are multiple tribes living in Central Tyria. In the heart of the Maguuma live other tribes, with other characteristics. They look different from the Central Tyrian tribes and also speak a different language. Use the mastery lines to continue your interaction with the friendly tribes and kill the hostile ones if necessary.
The Itzel and Nuhoch are friendly hylek tribes
The tengu are much like the hylek. You’ve seen them before. Some of them are friendly, while others are hostile. They’re straight up enemies like you’ll find in Central Tyria. You don’t have to worry much about them.
How to Navigate the Jungle
In these maps, you'll want to check off the waypoints first before you really start exploring the jungle. Why? Because you will die a lot. If it’s not enemies, the jungle itself will kill you.
The maps have three layers: the roots, the canopies and the surface. The root level is the lowest level of the map, but it doesn’t mean there is actually ground to stand on. Sometimes there will be a cliff on the surface level, but when you jump off of it you’ll only find death awaiting you. Some hero points, insights or mastery points do require you to go to impossible places. Be careful, gliding won’t always help you.
[Beginner’s tip] When you enter the jungle for the first time, don’t try to uncover all of the map at once. Start with the surface layer. This layer connects the maps and you will find most of the meta events happening there. The other two will come when you have more masteries.
One of the easier ways to move through the jungle is by following the story. The story will help you uncover new places, while guiding you to the next map. Some people don’t care for the story and that’s perfectly okay. If you’re one of them, I highly recommend following the markers, points of interest and especially the waypoints to find your way.
Mastering the Jungle
Heart of Thorns came out with a few new features. One of them is the mastery system. This is a new horizontal progression for your characters. The masteries for the Heart of the Maguuma will help you navigate the jungle and master it.
[Beginner’s tip] If it’s your first time in the jungle, unlock the first level of gliding first before you train other masteries. Without gliding, you will die even more and you can’t reach certain places.
After that, you should unlock the first mastery in the Itzel lore line. It will allow you to use bouncing mushrooms. They will save you time running through the jungle and you’ll be able to get to more difficult to reach locations. The bouncing mushrooms are also excellent ways to escape enemies chasing you.
[caption id="attachment_65790" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Gliding is an essential part of travelling through the Heart of the Maguuma[/caption]
These two mastery lines, gliding and Itzel lore, are the two basic ones you’ll want to master as soon as possible. The use of updrafts and speed mushrooms helps a ton when traveling. You even need some of these masteries to complete the maps. It’ll take you some time to level all of them and gather enough mastery points to complete everything. You can only master these lines while you’re playing the new maps. Central Tyria has its own mastery lines.
When you enter Auric Basin and Tangled Depth, new mastery lines are unlocked and the first level is required to continue the story. The Exalted mastery lines opens up your interactions with the Exalted. They will help you, offer new gear and more loot. Nuhoch lore is especially good in Tangled Depth. If you want to master this map, I highly suggest finishing this line. The fourth mastery level will grant you stealth detection. This will reveal the treasure mushroom, which can appear on every heart of the Maguuma map. Killing this mushroom might give you the invisible boots.
Doing the meta events on the maps will give you a ton of loot and experience. Use it to improve your gear, sell it or salvage it to work towards exotic and ascended gear. This will drastically improve your survivability.
Whatever you do, whichever way you choose, don’t be discouraged by deaths or when you can’t find a certain point of interest, hero point or mastery point. The heart of the Maguuma isn’t an easy place to wander around. Take your time and be patient. Explore with friends (or find a group on Reddit) to speed things up. You can do this. Get out there and kill that dragon!