GW2 Path of Fire: The Departing

GW2 Path of Fire: The Departing

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9 comments on GW2 Path of Fire: The Departing

It’s pretty interesting how a game can go from “I’m not interested in this in the least bit” to “Okay, I’ll buy the expansions now.” Part of it’s my fault, I’m sure, for reporting that so far, the GW2 Path of Fire story and design is a whole lot better for players of my taste.

Sunday saw Syn and Amoon dust off their old GW2 accounts for the first time in years. Builds were pondered. Mounts were seen and desired. Come Monday, Syn decided she was picking up the boxed set of both expansions. I don’t think she was hyped about it, but she seemed curious, like I was when I dropped cash on the two expansions last month.

So, last night, I helped them both obtain their raptor mount and get to Amnoon. We’ll see where it goes from there.

As for myself, I spent a good chunk of time working through the GW2 chapter The Departing. I’ve heard snippets about this chapter, including the fact that it contains one of the more difficult bosses. Here’s my thoughts.

Story Spoilers for GW2 Path of Fire!

Remember how I said I was hoping that something would knock my commander character down a few notches, simply due to his annoying attitude (which in no way fits the way the character would respond  to things if I were actually in control of the writing)?

Commander faces Balthazar in a scripted fight. I actually held my own quite well — thanks to everyone who suggested great Reaper builds!!! But story dictated it was a no-win situation. So…

Yeah. Commander gets his butt handed to him. He practically dies.


I’m not sure why this pleased me, but it did. (I really do care about my character, I just don’t like the way this story has written him!)

Because he died a traumatic death, he ends up in the Domain of the Lost. Here, I finally got a taste of how they’re going to portray Palawa Joko.


As I suspected, he’s not as amusing as he was in GW1… but it was kinda fun to dupe him out of his own army. I have a feeling when Joko finally gets free, Commander is going to be on his hit list.

Anyhow, the journey through the Domain of the Lost was pretty neat. My character is significantly humbled, unable to remember his name or purpose, both which he needs to find to move on from this place.

I won’t go into a lot of detail, but it was an interesting scenario to work through. And long, too. The game basically condensed the major plot points of the whole game into a series of flashbacks. Some which hit on important memories…


And interestingly, inserted memories my character never had, since I still haven’t finished HoT or started Season 3. For example, this is the first time (outside of a momentary PoF cutscene) that I’ve seen Aurene. I thought she was smaller than that for some reason.


Anyhow, this long sequence culminates in a final battle with a boss that I’ve heard nothing but frustration about — the Eater of Souls.

(Update: They nerfed the Eater of Souls a few days after I beat him.)

I was sorta concerned because I know a number of people have had issues clearing it. Forum posts like this one or this one and this one ask for help or discuss the difficulty. I saw someone ask for assistance on Tumblr… and then I learned that even if you bring friends in with you, they can’t do anything to assist you in this fight.

I gave it a shot, anyhow, and after getting a grasp on what I thought were the mechanics, was able to defeat him the first try. I’m not sure if my Reaper build was meant to take on something like this (thank you again to those who sent help and suggestions!)… or if I just ran away from the boss fast enough so it couldn’t suck me dry and replenish its own life. I suppose I don’t use much in the way of boons for it to steal, so that helped, too.


I can certainly see how this fight could be really, really difficult. I’m not knocking it or folks who are having trouble clearing it. The worst part of this is that hitting a wall on this boss means you have to go back and do soooo much of the story over again. And friends can’t help you!

Anyhow, I cleared that fight, and my Commander returned to the land of the living. It was a happy day for the rest of the group. I think?


Overall, it was a pretty intense chapter. I won’t say that it was without flaws (I feel like the flashback part went on a bit too long), but it was a nice reminder of where your character came from, and things they’ve overcome.

I’m also quite interested in how the writers are shifting ideas in order to write themselves out of the Elder Dragon conundrum they created (oops, we killed them and we weren’t supposed to). I’m not sure if that was something they knew all along, or something that developed along the way, but I appreciate the plot twist and am looking forward to where it’ll lead.

Looks like I’m actually on the third and final act of Path of Fire at this point. Just a few more chapters till I see it through and can begin working on my griffon mount in earnest. Seeing that I’m playing it through a second time on another character (not to mention the previous expansion and Living World 3), I’ve still got a lot of content to look forward to!

9 responses to “GW2 Path of Fire: The Departing”

  1. I was curious to see how returning bloggers would feel about this fight. Good to hear it wasn’t too painful for you. Apparently, it’s mostly a test of understanding the defiance bar needs to be broken asap and reapers bring lots of innate cc with chills and fears.

    I can’t actually remember much of the mechanics of this fight when I did it because I was so immersed into the story at this point.

    With faint resonances of the hero’s journey from Hero of a Thousand Faces reverberating in my brain and getting nostalgia kicks from retracing my main’s story from personal story through season 1 all the way to HoT and PoF, I somehow blended together them and a joke thread in Reddit that was about how permadeath=character deletion might come up in GW2/MMOs.

    It was like, OK, this is it. If there’s ever a point thematically where it makes sense that a game would bring in permadeath, it’s here. Memory and purpose, laying all the stakes on the line now… metagame-wise, it’s one shot kill, now or never, bois.

    I’d keyed myself up so much that the resulting encounter with the Eater of Souls was nail biting pure instinct-reaction and near panic when I went down just as it was also near death. The downed fight was awesome, because after herculean effort, I finished it off and stood up. A whole charr. Utter poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually still don’t get the whole defiance bar thing, to be honest. I notice it on bosses and champions, I see it going down sometimes, but don’t have any idea what to use to effect it. It’s never been explained directly in the game to me, and if there’s something in the UI for the fight that explains it, I’m far too busy staying alive to pay it attention.

      I’ve actually been surviving really well on this Reaper build, but I feel like I’m cheesing a lot of stuff with Shroud. Yeah, I know that Shroud is the main mechanic… but I still feel like I’m cheating when I jump into it to protect myself. XD

      In the case of the Eater of Souls….

      I’m just going to say that I really feel the four years I’ve spent in FFXIV have taught me to read, understand and respond to boss/raid mechanics far better than I could when I left GW2 (out of frustration with the Mordrem mechanics). I’m not saying I’m the best player, but I do notice that I can pick up on telegraphed patterns after seeing them a few times (such as during the Balthazar fight right before this). Once I’ve got that pattern, I feel confident in understanding the flow of the fight.

      The Eater of Souls was a pattern for me. He always makes the same circle on the ground before he leaps at you and he always drains your life immediately afterwards. So I learned very quickly that I could fight him as melee, but as soon as I saw that certain circle on the ground, I needed to be as far away from him as possible.

      I read that you could also CC him when his “bar turns blue” — I’m assuming that’s the break bar you’re talking about? But I never even paid attention to this. I was too immersed in movement and distance.

      The idea of permadeath here is pretty intense! I didn’t dwell on it too much, but it did briefly cross my mind “What happens if I lose?” I managed to finish the fight without any prior knowledge of it and without going down, but I’m a chicken-butt and ran every time I saw the sucky thing happening. XD


      • You are indeed correct about pattern recogniton being a key concept to grasp for GW2 encounters. This will come up again in the upcoming PoF fights. (It seems to be an increasing part of various games since MMO raids with phases, Dark Souls and Monster Hunter type games started being popular with a subset of game players.)

        One thing to build on that is to train yourself to look out for the animation ‘tell’ that comes just before the preset attack. It’s not easy to spot at first, in the midst of all the fireworks that are GW2 combat effects, but most mobs will characteristically do one animated movement that signals the start of their animated attack – they might move a hand, shrug a shoulder, rear up or crouch in a certain way, etc.

        You’re also correct in that the break/defiance bar as a concept is very badly and not explicitly taught in GW2. I do wish Anet was better at it, but given how slowly the oil tanker turns, I wouldn’t expect better tutorials until the next expansion, even if decided as a priority. 😉

        Basically, the best explanation is sourced from the wiki:

        Any crowd control will lower it, but some crowd control effects are better than others based on the intensity or duration of the crowd control skill. “Hard” disabling crowd controls like stuns and knockbacks do direct damage to the bar, “Soft” crowd controls where the affected can still perform an action but are detrimentally affected in some way (cripples, chills, immobilizes) do damage over time to the bar.

        Generally, through a little bit of trial and error and learning from others, each class comes up with a suite of cc skills that they know will do significant damage to the bar.

        A couple of good Necromancer break bar skills are the fear on Shroud 3 (reapers press 3 twice to activate the fear iirc), Reaper shroud 5’s freeze, warhorn 4, and activating Flesh Golem’s charge rush.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s really, really helpful info — thank you for taking the time to explain that! I just knew people were saying something about using CC skills when the bar turns blue for bosses. But wasn’t exactly certain what that all meant.

          I had to fight Archon Iberu (twice — darn game kicked me after I beat him the first time) tonight, and that fight almost absolutely required know-how about the break bar. I had a little harder time getting him down than the Eater of Souls, and I’m still a little confused about what happened there. When he started draining his minions, I’d try to CC him, but half the time, it just said he was invulnerable. Sometimes something would hit and interrupt him, but a lot of that fight was just chipping him down and failing to break his bar.

          I guess I need a little more practice with this!

          Anyhow, thank you again! I’ll try to look for the “tell” animation in the future for battles. I’m usually so worried about what’s going on at my feet, though!


          • Archon Iberu is a mechanic fight, I think. Iirc, you have to stop him draining a soldier by killing the marked target and he will auto-break.

            Yeah, when described like that, I can see how this is actually inconsistent telegraphing by Anet – when should you focus on breaking with your own skills, and when should you look out for a mechanic?

            No easy answers, usually trial and error (ok, my breaks aren’t having as big an effect as usual) and listening to NPC hints (if Anet didn’t forget to do so) and worse case scenario, googling for third-party advice.

            Still lots of room for improvement by Anet on conveying this appropriately. For instance, I got totally caught out in the final fight against the big bad because I had no idea what I was supposed to do and missed seeing a teeny tiny blue circle on the floor. Was like, OK, that was super not obvious.


  2. I have never played either GW but am finding all these recent posts very entertaining and interesting. Heck, some little part of my brain entertained the notion of trying out GW2. That is until another, more muscular, part of my brain showed it my current FFXIV To Do list. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand THAT line of thought. I still have a huge list of to-do in FFXIV myself. GW2 was my main MMO before FFXIV. I moved away from GW2 due to changes in design and philosophy… but they’re now swinging back towards the design I enjoyed at launch, so I’ve been dabbling in GW2 again. Just until patch 4.1. Then I need to find a way to balance the two!

      Not to sway your thoughts or anything, but GW2 base game is now Free to Play (you upgrade your account by buying one of the expansions, which hover around $30 each). So if you just wanted to try the game out, it wouldn’t set you back any cash. There are some limitations, of course, for a F2P account, but overall it sounds like the base experience is there and free.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Hahah! Indeed!

          If you ever DO decide to try GW2 out, let me know and I’ll friend you! We have an old guild we’ve been using to keep contact as a small group — it’s nothing super organized or shiny, but you’re welcome there anytime! (You can be part of up to 5 guilds, so jumping into a casual one doesn’t prevent you from joining a larger one as well in the future.)

          A number of us are also FFXIV players, so we share your sentiments and excitement for Eorzea as well. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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