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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Just want to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas. I hope you all got great gifts from Santa and get to eat lots of cake - just remember to sleep it off afterwards. And no late night baking, or you'll be too tired to eat it come meal time.

How sad it is to see the season come to an end, and all the great shows we've watched screen their finales. It has been a tremendous year for anime with some strong contenders like Fate/Zero, Guilty Crown, Chu-2 and Sword Art Online. My list could continue, and truly, I'd need a top 20, not just 10 to list all the quality shows we got to watch this year. I can only hope that 2013 will continue to provide us with the same calibre of entertainment.

In the Winter 2012/13 season, there are a few anime that I suspect will be the ones to watch for. The first of these being Da Capo III. The multi-series anime has made a big name for itself and has a large following. I'm sure there are many excited to see the show return in its third incarnation.

Another two are Amnesia and Vivid Red Operation. Vivid Red certainly is stealing a large chunk of the spotlight for the winter season, yet the story of Amnesia sounds very intriguing and will probably make for a serious and dark story - the total opposite of Vivid Red's light-hearted fun.

But most of all, Savannah Game sounds like it will take my interest the most. I've always been partial to anime based around virtual reality games, and we've certainly had a few come out this year, including the smash hit, Sword Art Online. Now we get a fourth game-themed anime for winter.

Of course, with the popularity of the first season of Chihayafuru, we are likely to see that continue in January with the screening of the show's second season. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha looks interesting, but I'm still a bit on the fence with it due to the poor sounding synopsis, but I've always been partial to anime with swords in them, and this one looks to be no different - I'll hold out until I've seen the first couple of episodes before passing judgement on it.

With that said, Merry Christmas fellow anime fans and keep on watching!




Based in the year 2019, Robotics;Notes follows the story of Kaito Yashio and Akiho Senomiya who are the sole members of the Central Tanegashima High School Robotics Club. Akiho is determined to live up to the expectations of her older sister by finishing the large-scale robot her sister started back before she graduated from the school after founding the original robotics club. While Akiho seeks funding to continue her project, Kaito spends his days hanging round the club hanger, not helping in the development of Akiho's robot, but playing a popular mech fighting game, Kill-Ballad, which is based on the fictional anime, Gunvarrel. The fictional show itself serves as inspiration for Akiho, going so far as to codename her project, Gunbird-1 - a robot from the anime.

Aki testing out robot
While the robot looks very little like the real Gunbird-1, Akiho finds encouragement from the relucant Kaito's unexpected and heartfelt support, as well as that of her other friends who over time join the club to help finish the project in their own unique way. Her work is not without merit, which is soon recognised by the company behind the fictional lollies, Space Candy, run by a man who will come to coin the most catchy saying of the entire show: Impact! You only have to take notice of anime forums around the world to see that this word is on the tip of every robotics fan's tongue.

Aki and Kai as children with her sisterRobotics;Notes is the third anime to be adapted from the series of visual novels produced by 5pb Inc, and follows in the wake of the smash hit 2011 anime sensation, Steins;Gate. While not quite living up to the success of its predecessor, the anime has shown itself to be a much deeper story than previously expected. With its foreboding of apocalyptic disaster, we can surmise that what starts as a simple school robotics club might well be the only thing standing between the Earth and certain annihilation.
The creator of Gunvarrel
Robotics;Notes is full of humour and lovingly crafted golden moments which you would come to expect in what we thought was going to be a slice of life anime, but it has a serious side that is slowly creeping in from the background, directed by the artificial intelligence program, Airi, who reveals herself to Kaito, along with a secret NASA doesn't want the world to know. It doesn't seem surprising at all that an anime skirting around the possibility of a worldwide apocalypse would show its face in a year that is already full of doomsday, end of the world, predictions.

After coming second in the robot tournament
I have quite enjoyed the show so far, although I liked Steins;Gate better, but I am sure we are going to be in for a real treat as the story leaves behind character introductions and humour in favour of the real meat of the story.


Seraphine and the Orphan of Castlepoint



The room drifted into focus; the Light locked away safely inside me again. My skin tingled, hot to the touch when I rubbed my arms. It was residue of the lashing heat that had washed over me only moments ago, a side-effect of my own powers. I hated it.

Rounded crystal lamps dangled from chains, forcing their dim light through gaps in the metal platform above my head. The heavy clamour of working machinery echoed from the upper level of the factory, and the dull thrum of an extractor fan throbbed through my ears.

The scent of scorched flesh permeated in the air. Seven bodies surrounded me, one of them the mother. I’d been too late to save her, just like I’d been too late to save the father. The truth is: I’d had no intention of saving them in the first place.

The arm of a massive machine crossed in front of the lamps, casting striped patterns again the steel wall. They flickered over the vent, drawing my attention to the frightened child hiding within; the only survivor of this bloodbath. How she’d survived through me releasing my power when all others had perished, I’ll never know, but honestly; I didn’t care.

She wasn’t my concern. Orphans were shard a dozen in this city. She’d be dead before long. Either that or she’d turn to prostitution, and then she’d die; charity had long ago ceased to exist in Castlepoint.

I turned away. My body tensed and I bunched my fists to try stop them shaking. What frustrated me most was that my prey had somehow managed to elude me. Maybe the shade provided by the vent had protected the girl, but there was no explanation for how Blackmantle had escaped. And I’d done so well to track him here to this bloody factory.

The girl’s whimpers reached me and for a moment there I contemplated putting her out of her misery. My hand rested on the pommel of the sword at my waist. It would be a kindness, the only one she’d be likely to get. I walked away instead. I’m not like them. I don’t murder children.

It was quieter in the hallway, easier to relax and not care about the mess I’d left behind me. My foot bumped up against the body of the father. His chest was bloody from the bullet holes. What had brought them here, why had they been running from the Royal Guard? I doubted I’d be getting any answers from a corpse, or that broken shell of a child. My curiosity wasn’t worth the effort.

Little feet padded over concrete behind me. They stopped. I refrained from cursing at her, instead squeezing the bridge of my nose between forefinger and thumb. Why me…? The girl stood a few paces away from me.

I didn’t have time for this. ‘Sorry kid, but I’m not giving hand-outs today.’

The dark pools of her eyes remained fixed on mine.

‘Scat. Go on now, get!’

The Four curse me. That lost puppy-dog look of hers was hard to ignore. A stuffed bear hung from her hand, stained red with blood. Her knees too; the skirts covering them slicked red, adding to the black stains that ruined her white dress.

I should leave her. My job didn’t spare me the room to babysit a kid. Yet why did I just stand there, listening to the distant throb of the extractor fan? A faulty crystal lamp flickered overhead. Damn it.

‘Come on then,’ I said.

The girl hugged her bear against her chest and kept her gaze fixed on me, avoiding the body at my feet. Smart kid.

I slipped the leather jacket off my shoulders and put it on her. There was no way she was going anywhere with me in her current state. The brown jacket fell to her ankles, but at least when closed it covered the blood.

I must be mad, taking her with me. How in the Four Circles of Hell I was going to explain this to Luca.


Hunted: Season Finale Impressions

Sam Hunter walking through hedge maze

Hunted is a bond-esque television drama written by Frank Spotnitz for BBC One staring Melissa George as Sam Hunter, the butt-kicking espionage operative working for the private intelligence agency, Byzantium. Like a female version of Bond, Sam has the knack for getting herself into trouble, although nothing she can't fight her way out of with her to-be-expected incomparable training, but most of all the sex appeal we have come to expect from attractive and talented spy flick stars. Unfortunately, that same sex appeal is ruined by her petulant sulking and weak moments that betrays the tough character personality she is attempting to develop into.

figuring out who attempted to kill her
When Sam is betrayed by members of the very intelligence agency she works for, she goes into hiding in order to recover from the attempt on her life that cost her the life of her unborn child. During her recovery she gathers together any information she can find on Byzantium, looking for clues that will lead to the identity of those who betrayed her and why they'd made an attempt on her life, which as the story progresses, is apparently tied into a project called Hourglass, and a traumatic experience she suffered as a child.

The villian of the showHaving recovered from her injury and loss, Sam returns to Byzantium when she realises it is the only way she can find answers to the puzzle surrounding her. She is welcomed back into the team, although many surprised to see her, including her once boyfriend, and the father of her dead baby, Aiden Marsh. Knowing she is their best operative, they quickly throw her back into the action, assigning her to gain the trust of Stephen Turner. Rescuing his son from a staged kidnapping attempt, Sam is quickly brought into Stephen's home as a nanny for his son, Edward, when she takes on the persona of Alex Kent, a single woman desperately in need of a job. Sam uses the secret identity and position to get close to Stephen's father, Jack Turner, and discover the secret he is using to blackmail a large conglomerate organisation that has ties to Byzantium. The story escalates when she discovers ties between the attempt of her life, the mysterious Hourglass project, Byzantium and it's largest parent company, Polyhedrus.

Sam ustilising a lighter as a flamethrowerI had wanted to believe in the show that so much reminded me of a UK version of Alias without the cheesy acting. It was supposed to be the show that filled the gap left by the hit show Spooks, and clearly the network had dropped a huge ton of money into it. The production quality is high, although on occasions suffers from some below-average acting and scripts. On the whole though, the show appeared to have potential, and a decent amount of action and intrigue to keep me interested. Unfortunately, ratings slipped on the show and now it looks to be on rocky ground. BBC One is choosing to drop support for the show, but Cinemax hasn't given up hope quite yet. We will see a second season, but it might go the way of Strike Back and become a hugely different show. It will still feature the sexy Melissa George, although some may consider that a negative, rather than positive, based on her acting skills. But she has a pretty face, right? That always sells.

Sam with her ex-boyfriend and partnerThe greatest problem I see with Hunted is the unresolved plot arcs. I believe, given the funding and support, the holes would have all been filled in time and answers given, but the show was surviving on a severely limited number of episodes for a story that easily needed double their allotment. The simple truth was, there were far too many stories going on in the show for it to possibly reach any satisfactory conclusion. The worst of this being the briefly visited, but unfulfilled relationship Sam develops with Stephen and his son. I was disappointed how easily they threw away all they'd worked towards regarding them in those last episodes, although I suppose his character was too weak to truly take her interest. On many occasions, Stephen frustrated me with his inability to stand up to his father, even after discovering all Jack's dirty, dark secrets. With the move away from BBC One, we should be worried that those questions we had by the end of the finale might very well be left unanswered. It is a shame, because the series did show a good level of untapped potential that I had hoped they would in time work their way into.

Overall, the series was intriguing, but ultimately an unsatisfying watch. I enjoyed watching it, but would have liked there to be at least a full season of episodes so they could flesh it out properly.


Psycho Pass

About to shoot the dominator

Psycho-Pass is an anime that started off mediocre and uninspiring. But as the episodes have gone on, I've started to see something in it; a jewel that is slowly being polished into a series that just might be worth watching after all.

Physical training
The anime is based in the near future, following a similar story to the movie Minority Report, where it is possible to measure a person's mental state, personality and the probability that a person will commit crimes. This is called their "Crime Coefficent" level and is monitored by "Enforcers" working for the Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division. Enforcers use weapons called "Dominators" that read the target's mental state and determine how serious of a threat the perpetrator is. The weapon has two modes, stun and lethal, and will automatically switch between the modes when the target's level gets too high.

Protagonist with a dominator
The anime follows the story of Akane Tsunemori, an inspector fresh out of training who is placed in charge of a group of Enforcers, ensuring they follow the rules and stay in control of their own mental state. She takes an interest in Shinkya Kogami, who used to once be an inspector, but when his own Crime Coefficent level grew too high while investigating a difficult case was demoted down to Enforcer and treated like a latent criminal - like the other Enforcers, who are all latent criminals, given the chance to redeem themselves by working for the police instead of committing the crimes they were predicted to do. If her curiosity develops into something more we can only theorise, but as the episodes continue, I wonder if Akane will turn out to really be the perfect, high-scoring, 'model citizen' they all believe her to be. It will be interesting to see if she goes the same way of Shinkya Kogami.

The police AI forceThe concept of this anime is brilliant, and is what made me start watching it. At first I was put off by the below-average anime quality. They could of at least made the characters look pleasing to the eye, but I suppose the artists were going for a more average, realistic look - which that did achieve. Animation style aside, the story has enough going for it to make me continue to watch.

Unfortunately, the gem I now see in it only became apparent about four episodes into the anime. The first two episodes were a real struggle, dealing with dark situations, weak characters, unexplained plots and ridiculous arguments that just ended up being a waste of time and over dramatisation. This was solved by the story starting to actually go somewhere productive and become serialised series from one episode to the next, forming a long story arc revolving around virtual reality hackers and crime bosses.

Avatars of Internet Celebrities seeking revenge on hacker

With the dominator again.

The strange, lackluster animation continues to grind on me but I suspect we are in for a very big surprise in the episodes to come that will leave us wondering just where this show came from - very much what happened to the hit TV Show Fringe - the first season barely had any story, yet halfway through the second season the viewers' eyes were opened to an amazing development in the characters and story. We might just be in for the same evolution with Psycho-Pass. I am very curious to see if the anime lives up to my hopes in the weeks to come.


Nanowrimo Target Reached

A quick post to announce that today marked the halfway point for my second draft of The Maidenflower Dance, and as such I've reached the 50k words target set for Nanowrimo in November. Of course I'll continue to write, got another 50k words at least to go before the story is done.

My writing statistics

As you can see, nine days ahead of target. I'm pleased with the result and hope I can keep the rate of progress going and complete the novel before Christmas. I expect it will not be too hard to meet the deadline I've set.


Guild Wars 2: The Lost Shores - GRAND FINALE

The Lost Shores: Grand Finale

Tension was thick in the morning hours leading up to the Lionguard's final strike against the karka threat. Only yesterday adventurers had fought alongside Inspector Ellen Kiel to wrestle the shoreline of Southsun Cove from the karka, securing a beach front and pushing through to establish roads further inland. While the Consortium investigated nearby ruins and collected karka egg specimens, the Lionsguard proceeded to establish a forward base on the edge of the Scoured Plains.

Big Cannon
Karka championAdventurers woke to find a new design of catapult, along with asura cannons constructed along the front lines, their sights focused on the karka hive where the Ancient Karka that had been terrorising Lions Arch slumbered. Yesterday the hive had been blocked off to all adventures by an indestructible webbing, taunting us with the points of interest and rich orichalcum veins within. Now it appeared the Lionsguard were making plans to break through that impenetrable wall and take the fight directly to the karka's home.

Adventurers from all over Tyria gathered in those last moments leading up to the final battle, converging on Canach's Folly to witness the grand finale, summoned by a mass-delivered letter from Inspector Kiel. Upon arrival at the forward camp they found a group of demolitionists just itching to get into that hive and blow it into the mists. Kicking off the final push, the Lionguard fire the cannons, ripping a hole in the webbing. Adventurers and demolitionists alike swarmed through the gap, overwhelming the young karka. Enraged by our attack, veteran egg-layers rose up from the depths of the hive, led by their champions.

Inside the Karka Hive

The fight was severe and bloody, and many lost their lives, but after much effort, the demolitionists placed their charges, ending at the top with a grand battle confronting another champion karka and several veteran egg-layers.

Still inside the Karka Hive
Our mission complete we escaped from the hive, racing across the Seashell Hills and back to the safety of Canach's Folly and the asura cannons. There we met with Inspector Ellen Keil, who was preparing to use the cannons against the karka still remaining in the hive, triggering the explosives in the process, except her plans are foiled at the last moment. The Ancient Karka was never in the hive. We were now required to force it back into sight of the cannons so that the Lionsguard could finish what we started.

We found the Ancient Karka in the Driftglass Plains, stubbornly refusing to budge an inch. The tree we felled changed its mind though, but not the way we had hoped. Instead of heading towards the hive, the creature retreated further away and proceeded to summon waves of veteran karka to fight back.

The Ancient Karka Arrives

Wave after wave of karka attacked us, and for the next hour we fought tooth and nail to keep the upper hand. When victory seemed close, we were confronted with a wave of veteran egg-layers, followed by a champion karka. Suffering through the severe latency issues we were dealt at this point, the adventurers struggled to win the fight against the karka and drive the boss back towards the Scoured Plains.

Using steam vents to fight the Ancient KarkaAt the end of the hour long battle, we made headway, chasing the Ancient Karka into a region full of geothermal fissures. Ripping the webbing off the fissures, we used their pressure to launch boulders at the Ancient Karka, driving down its will to fight on.

The creature at last gave up the fight, retreating into the Scoured Plains, but it was not over yet. Regaining courage, the beast summoned more veteran karka, along with egg-layers and their babies. The battle was fierce, and the adventurers were pushed back onto the bridge to Captain's Retreat, but after much toil and pain, we succeeded, only to be confronted by three champion karka. The battle raged on, and eventually we forced the Ancient Karka back into the Seashell Hills.

Chasing the Ancient Karka back to the hive
The battle was not over yet though, we still had to drive the Ancient Karka back into the hive where the trap we'd set waited for it. We achieved this by destroying gas nodes around the area that had been blocked by karka webbing. Each exploding node forced the creature further and further back, until it retreated within the confines of the hive.

Fighting the Ancient Karka outside the hiveSensing her eminent victory, Inspector Kiel ordered the Lionsguard to charge the cannons, preparing to fire again. It was up to the adventurers to keep the Ancient Karka busy until the cannons were ready to fire once more.

The creature fled to the top of the hive, and we followed, free to run up the path previously cleared of young and veteran karka. At the top we found the Ancient Karka hiding amongst the webbing, which had covered the previously placed explosives, leaving us with no other option but to destroy the webbing in order to reset the trap for him. With the webbing destroyed, the karka fled back down to the bottom of the hive, using a rolling move to crush all opposition in its way, but little did the karka know, but that was where we wanted it.

The final battle against the Ancient Karka inside the hive
Fighting the Ancient Karka inside the hiveCornered, we at last launched an all out offensive on the Ancient Karka itself, paying it back for all the terror it had unleashed, for the citizens of Tyria it had murdered and the damage it had done to Lions Arch. The creature was helpless against our fury and it fell to our blades, weakening. The time had come, the cannons were charged, the explosives set, ready to blow. Inspector Ellen Kiel gave the final command, and the cannons fired, striking the Ancient Karka and explosives. The ground beneath it ruptured, revealing the lava below, and the creature was swallowed whole, consumed by the fires.

Making one last effort, the Ancient Karka rose up again, emerging from the lava to struggle onto the land, but its burns were severe, its wounds fatal. The karka took its last breath and died, the adventurers and Lionsguard standing triumphant before it. Victory was ours.

The Ancient Karka is defeated!

Having defeated the karka threat once and for all, the adventurers were rewarded with an enormous event chest containing unique and exotic treasures. Every adventurer was given a 20-slot karka themed bag, an exotic earring that gave +25 to all stats as well as +5% magic find, two random exotic items, and a handful of other, lesser rarity, random items.

Treasure!Satisfied with the outcome of the three-hour long event, latency issues forgiven, the adventurers returned to Canach's Folly, which now stands as a Lionsguard outpost, to stay until the remaining karka are found and the island is freed of their terror for good. Players left happy, thankful that the final day of the event had not been a complete disaster like the second day had been. Now all that remains is to explore every inch of the island, complete the jumping puzzles, gather the karka shells used to create newly added items, and explore the very depths of the Fractals of the Mists. Already there are reports of players reaching difficulty level 4 or 5, and who knows what awaits them as the dungeon continues to get even more dangerous.


Guild Wars 2: The Lost Shores - DAY TWO

The Lost Shores: Day Two

The second day of the weekend-long Lost Shores event has started and unfortunately not all is well in the world of Tyria. Day One quest chains were still bugged out, even after a supposed bug fix patch was released in the early hours of the morning, and adventurers were growing even more frustrated with their inability to experience the story ArenaNet had crafted for the weekend. Things did not bode well for the MMO developers chances to impress all those new players they had drawn into the game with the trial key giveaways.

Players gathered around Levvi, waiting for the Phase Two event to kick off. 12:00pm server time came and went, leaving the adventurers puzzled. Where was the next major event, where were the karka that were supposed to attack Lions Arch once more? They were nowhere to be seen. All adventurers were left with was an updated meta-event text stating something about testing out new weapons on the Karka, but where these weapons were, and how you went about testing them, nobody knew. There was no cutscene to show us the way, no hints from ArenaNet like there had been yesterday. Today we were left believing something had gone dreadfully wrong.

Fifteen minutes after the even start time, there was at last some progress. Apparently the Lionguard, under the direction of Magnus, were building a siege weapon to attack the Ancient Karka with. Now that things were at last underway, Magnus, along with Levvi and Kiel, lead us to the walls of Fort Marriner, where we could see the aforementioned trebulchet. That was the moment the karka chose to attack.

Like the previous event, the Ancient Karka sent waves of lesser karka against us, but this time we were prepared. Barrels of a toxic substance harmful to the karka were scattered across the land between Fort Marriner and the lighthouse. This time the egg-layers fell with ease, the toxin ripping through their shells. Forced into a confrontation, the Ancient Karka joins the fight, but this is where the problems start. On some servers the boss vanished without a trace, leaving adventurers without any event rewards or completion bonuses. On other servers the karka's health continously reset, making him impossible to defeat. Unfortunately, my server was one of those affected by this bug, which means I missed what end to the event there could have been. Upon my return to Lions Arch, after exploring a couple other points of interest in the event weekend, I found the boss gone, having vanished into thin air.
First battle against the Ancient Karka

Regretfully, this was the outcome many got when taking part in the event. I'm afraid to say Day Two started on a worse note than Day One, at least the first event was achievable. All that is left for adventurers now is to continue the storyline on into the Southsun Cove, via the shipmaster at the Lions Arch docks.

Stay tuned for more details and screenshots of Southsun Cove as Unfathomable Writings embarks upon their  voyage across the Sea of Sorrows.


Guild Wars 2: Fractals of the Mists

The Fractals of the Mists

Following the completion of the opening event, access to Guild Wars 2's new style of dungeon experience was released to adventurers all over Tyria, even to those who are not quite lv80 yet when they were scaled up to lv80 for the weekend long event so that they could experience the dungeon alongside veteran players. When the portal opened, Unfathomable Writings was there to take the first step into Fractals of the Mists, a dungeon-crawling adventure like no other.

Dessa's Laboratory
First thing we were greeted with through the portal was Dessa's Laboratory, which served as the central nexus for movement through the many instances to be found within the mists. General goods and repair venders were to be found here, as well as the namesake NPC Dessa and her assistants.

Stepping onto the platform in the centre of the room we were greeted with a prompt asking us if we were ready to travel deeper into the mists. Not knowing quite what to expect, we all ticked our ready status and waited for Dessa to plunge us into the chaos that was to come. Loading times were smooth, and our experience proved to be pleasantly bug free.

Swamp drake champion
First up we were thrown right into the middle of a dark, gloomy swamp. None of us had a clue where we were, or how to get out of this hellhole we found ourselves in. Two steps into the swamp and we were confronted by our first fight, a Champion Marsh Drake. Surprised to find such a high level monster as our first opposition we eagerly joined the fight, burning the creature down, and were disappointed to find no loot reward given for our kill. It appeared that champions were to be a normal trash mob in this particular instance.

First swamp puzzleHaving dispatched the foul champion beast, we explored further into the swamp and found our way blocked by three locks. To open these locks we would need to recover the three wisps that would release them. The said wisps were scattered across the swamp, hidden behind hordes of monsters and masses of discretely placed traps. To complete this puzzle, we were forced to collect all the wisps in one go, rushing back to the locks on a thirty second timer. This was not so easy to achieve, for traps and monsters were determined to delay our flight, and the swamp itself was pitted against us when impenetrable walls of vines rose and fell, blocking out path. Our challenge was made even harder when the same Champion Marsh Drake continued to respawn on a timer of only a few seconds. He was joined by the Mossman, a purple bordered boss. After numerous attempts, uncountable crippling traps, and running around like a madman to try and get away from the Mossman, we were victorious.

Swamp boss
Inside, we travelled through an underwater passage which eventually opened up to the small glade belonging to a twisted and hostile Tree Ent, Bloomhunger. The boss himself was a pushover and we had very little trouble dispatching him. During the fight he would drop poison AoE circles, for the most part easily avoidable. He would also summon elementals to buff him, but the adds were dispatched within seconds, offering us no challenge at all. Once defeated we were treated to a chest containing several random items, sometimes rares, as one of our party managed to get. Dessa then spoke to us through the nether, prompting if we wanted to continue on to the next dungeon. Sure, why not, we thought; that wasn't so bad.

The battle for the Ascalonian city
But Dessa had larger games for us to play. As soon as we arrived in the second dungeon, we knew we were in for an amazing encounter. Drawn right into the middle of an all out war between the charr and an ascalonian city, we were forced to use charr disguises and join the battle alongside the charr as they assaulted the walls, confronted the enemy commander and threw their gates wide open. It was not an easy battle to win. The enemy turned their seige weapons on us. Catapults fired on our position, the arrows from carts reigned down from above and the enemy tipped burning oil on us whenever we got near the gates. With some amazing ranged combat by one of our party, we were able to take their weapons down and attack the gate.

Inside the courtyard
On the other side of the walls we fought our way through streets crawling with enemy soldiers, the city itself turned into a complicated maze network by the blockades the ascalonians had erected. Eventually we found our way to the central courtyard where we were greeted by an army of enemy soldiers manning catapults. After dispatching the opposing forces and capturing the courtyard we defended the charr magician as he performed the ritual needed to win the day and destroy the ascalonians. They were not going to give up so easily though. Their leader retaliated, leading an attack against our position. Much to our disappointment though, the boss of this instance put up less of a fight than Bloomhunger had. Victorious, we took our reward from the chest and moved on to the next stage.

At the feet of the giant Collosus
Our final adventure inside the Mists involved scaling a massive colossus who had been imprisoned by a dark cult. At the colossus's feet we were confronted by the boss of the instance, the Legendary Archdiviner. Putting up more of a fight than expected, the head cultist drops his magical hammer and flees deeper into the ruins. Taking his weapon we climbed the scaffolding, making our way to the top where the Archdiviner waited for us. Little did we know the challenge that awaited us along the way.

Freeing the knees of the collosus
Our first stop was the giant's knees, which were bound to the cliff by a magical seal. The only way to break the seal was to charge the Archdiviner's hammer with the blood of his fellow cultists. Veteran mobs attacked us, aiding the trash cultist mobs in their fight, making our attempts to free the colossus difficult indeed. It was made worse by the debuff placed on the party member holding the hammer. When the debuff stacked forty times, the player would be killed instantly. Our only choice was to pass the hammer between us before we reached that fatal number. Three charges later, the knee was free and we moved on to the next one, repeating the process. Victorious, we proceeded up the scaffolding, making our way to the chest seal. This one proved to be the easiest of them all, and it wasn't long before we were working our way up even higher. Little did we know what waited for us halfway up the ruins.

Scaling up the side of the ruinsFaces that blew strong winds at us threatened to throw us from the edge, plummeting to our death below. Luckily, this instance had checkpoints, so if you died, you respawned at various stages up the side of the ruins, and not from the beginning. This was the only instance to offer us this feature. During this adventure we discovered that once you leave the instance, it appears that there is no way back in. Entering the Mists would result in you being thrown into a completely different instance from the one the rest of the party was in. Which was unfortunate, since several of us had forgotten to bring repair canisters  By the look of the red gear we had towards the end, we really needed that repair vendor, but to return to Dessa's lab would wipe all our progress in this instance.

Nearly at the head
The wrists proved to be a greater challenge. They were protected by shields and you could only strike the seal once before the shield made it invulnerable. We were forced to run back and forth between the wrists, fighting off the hordes of cultists that spawned while hit by hit, we broke the seals down. All that was left was to free the head and confront the Legendary Archdiviner at the top. This would be no easy achievement, especially since we were now one man down. After dodging fireball traps that played the same tricks on us that the wind did, we at last reached the top of the scaffolding and were greeted by the final boss.

The final bossThe Archdiviner turned out to be both the most challenging of the three bosses and the most interesting. In the centre of the room was the final seal, restraining the colossus's head, but it was protected permanently by a shield. The only way to get past the shield was to confront the Archdiviner and burn his health down a quarter. During the fight cultists ran to his aid, making for a tough fight, but when the shield broke for the first time we rushed in, killing the adds to charge the hammer. We failed. The Archdiviner's attacks were serious business, nearly one-shotting several members of the party. Luckily for us, his health never regenerates, even when you wipe, until he is almost dead, but even then his health will never regen past quarter full. The fight wasn't made any easier by our severely broken gear. In the end, several of us were forced to purchase canisters from the Black Lion Trading Co. in order to continue fighting.

Down to half health, the boss changed his tactics, releasing a high-damage AoE attack that left burning DoTs on us. I can tell you now, those burns hurt, bad. Unless you could switch the conditions into boons, you were most likely dead if you got caught in it. during this stage the boss started teleporting party members he came in contact with into cages where they were forced to break their way out of, or enlist the aid of other party members to free them.

Freeing the collosus

The collosus bows his thanks.

The final stage of the boss saw his teleporting trick continuing throughout the fight while he spawned baby karka to help him fight. Fortunately, his AoE attack ceased to happen during this stage, making it easier for us to burn him down and release the shield around the seal. It only took three hits to break the seal and emerge victorious as a four man dungeon team. We were treated to one last treasure chest while the Colossus made his way off into the distance after bowing his thanks to us. We were then transported back to Dessa's Lab, where we could continue on with level two, if we so chose to do so.

Overall, our experience ended on a very positive note. Unlike other dungeons, we'd succeeded in clearing path one of the Mists on our first day, without pulling any hair out, enjoying every moment of it - especially when we were knocking down the walls of that ascalonian city - and coming out of our adventure thoroughly satisfied. I commend ArenaNet on their fantastic new dungeon and its flawless, bug free, progression.


Guild Wars 2: The Lost Shores - Day One - UPDATED: 3:45PM PST

The Lost Shores: Day One

The Ancient Karka appears


The first day of the weekend long event has started with the karka strike on Lions Arch. As we waited at the lighthouse, a giant sea monster, the Ancient Karka, launched out of the water, destroying a Black Lion Trading Co ship the process. After landing on the rocks above the shoreline, the creature summons a horde of lesser karka to attack the city.

fighting the Ancient KarkaHundreds of adventurers gathered at the southern coast of Lions Arch to push the karka threat back. They were met with a handful of egg-laying mother karka, who proceeded to give birth to many baby karka who were so small, and numbered so many that adventurers were hard pushed to keep the swarm back. Karka attached themselves to limbs, biting and hindering the adventurers movements while they tried to defend against the veteran karka that were summoned to aid the egg-layers in their strike.

Still fighting the Ancient Karka
During the battle, the biology team collected samples of the karka flesh as they slowly dropped, one after another. The battle was hard pushed, the egg-layers nearly invincible behind their thick armour. Many adventurers turned their attention to the lesser Karka aiding the egg-layers, until the karka lost their resolve to fight, giving up the attack and retreating back into the waters for the time being.

The Ancient Karka fleesEnraged by our resilience the Ancient Karka destroys the lighthouse in Lions Arch. Afterwards a tense peacefulness fulls upon Lions Arch, but not is all well. A call to arms is made to aid in the building of defences against the karka, and the research into the sea monsters, in the hopes that we might find a weakness to exploit. In the meantime, Tyrro of the Lionsguard investigates the Consortium and their strange asura gate that has torn an unstable rip in reality.
The Lighthouse is destroyed

Even though the battle was epic, an exciting event, the zone was so overrun with players that it causes the server to suffer from a severe input lag, meaning most players were forced to auto-attack the mobs when their activated abilities continously failed to proc. Many were even unable to heal themselves when the karka dropped AoE poisons.
event succeeded


Karka have started to send waves of attacks against Morgan's Spiral in Caledan Forest. Meanwhile, aid is sort from the races of Tyria in various locations. Including defending the Largos in Viathan Lake (Kessex Hills) from Krait in order to win his loyalty, helping the Hylek Gukumatz create potions to weaken the karka in Michoan March (Metrica Province) and information is being sought from the Quaggans in Stormwreak Deeps for clues on how to deal with the karka threat. The Quaggans ask that we search the depths of the lake for clues to help in the fight.

Unfortunately, many of these events appear to be a bit buggy at the moment, but hopefully in time the kinks will get sorted out and we will be able to proceed ahead with the events.

Driving the Young Karka out of Garrenhoof

The Karka have attacked Garrenhoof in Kessex Hills, but something suspicious is going on at the local wizards guild. Adventurers have been sent to confront Canach and discover what exactly he knows about the karka. Lag has also got so bad that enemy mobs to do show up at all now due to too many character models. Unfortunately the event is currently bugged on my server, along with several of the other events so I'm unable to provide details on the outcome of the event at this stage.

Underwater fighting the Young Karka

Keep an eye on this post and following threads for updates, videos and screenshots as the day progresses.