Dark Agartha experience in Open Beta

Due to events, work, cabal duties and life in general, I was only able to run Open Beta once. I used that time to run Dark Agartha with a variety of talismans, blades, elemental focuses and ARs. I’m only going to talk about my experience with blade, since I imagine not many other people tried it out in DA.

Some disclaimers before I continue: My various attempts were all done at e17 with max talismans and weapons using the typical DPS slotting for glyphs currently. I made no purchases at the vendor inside DA; I wanted to play it straight to see how passable/doable it was without buff potions, Bottled Flame, et al.

Playing Blade: Upside; It felt SO GOOD to kill the Oni-summoned wisps in 5 hits instead of wasting 45 to 90 seconds killing one in Live. These wisps, married along with punishing ground effects timing and massive AoEs, almost made me quit the game entirely since every mechanic in DA felt like it was a deliberate attempt to make nothing BUT hammer and/or AR viable at top-tier play.

Playing Blade: Downside; Blade is still very weak DPS-wise in DA. Its sole strength is that virtually no other weapon can heal, cleanse and keep you alive through Truthtainter and Gatekeeper like blade can. Unfortunately, the trade-off of being able to survive a lot of awful things means you have to sacrifice some passives and a main power that would give you a (minimal) DPS boost. I’m not making the claim that I’m the best blade user out here; but considering there are a number of blade users I’ve watched personally that pull in much lower numbers than I do, I think it’s safe to say they would find DA completely impossible in its current state. I managed to make it to Gatekeeper once with blade… and I failed because I ran out of time. Blade either needs a high-burst ability (like hammer and AR do) or put Supreme Harmony’s damage buff up to 30% just to make it competitive with other weapons.

The fights in general: The Upside was covered above, so we’re going into the Downside immediately; The boss fights I did in Beta are just long and obnoxious. Especially if you have to fight The Second (the Oni boss) because he’s always been an awful boss. When you’re bumping up against the time-limit wall no matter WHAT weapon you choose, it feels all kinds of wrong. I would personally scale back the bosses health by 10% and only give them 4 powers and one debuff MAX that they can have in their rotation. I have had ‘The Floor IS Lava’ challenge way too often in DA to not emphasis enough that a boss does NOT need to have Pitchfork, Meteor Swarm, Mark of House AND summon wisps all at the same time on the playfield. That’s just awful pacing and makes for a frustrating experience as a player.

Something I had almost forgot to cover is how ineffective Cruel Delight is now that its maximum healing is capped at 400. 400 healing is a bit of a joke when bosses are hitting you in the quad digits. This felt bad not only on blade but was even noticeable running AR. I get it needed to come down, but I think 400 puts it on par with a gadget with healing like that. If it’s not going to have its healing raised past this, at least let it do a passive cleanse once every 20 seconds so it doesn’t turn into a completely token/worthless signet.


Amen to that last one. How did you feel about the Soothing Spring heal cap? Did you notice?

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The Soothing Spring cap is noticeable but not a complete deal-breaker. I feel like more things need to be added to blade; not taken away from it, but, what are you going to do? I would gladly trade away Soothing Spring if it meant blade would get a much-needed high-damage burst attack. Or, better yet; let’s get rid of the most garbage elite in the game, and that’s Typhoon, and put something actually worthwhile in its place.


Exactly. I was thinking better damage elites would be nice. It’s why I like to use Hammer with Blade just to get a good one. I added it specifically for Eruption.

If they’re going to remove some heal because of healers, add damage for the DPS on this one. AND let us use the 8% power agents for swallow cut!!


Oh Yes. Particularly during the Gatekeeper fight.

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I didn’t get to do a huge number of runs, I think I can summarize them as

Hammer+Shotgun, same build as live, on E8 (E11 gear): no chance in hell. near zero self healing, CD nerf combined with non-maxed glyphs meant my hp only went down. completed 1 boss on strength of dealing 700k dps before it could hit me more than 10 times.
Hammer+Shotgun, added Forged in Fire (still E8 / E11 gear): still not near enough self healing, cleared 4 bosses by taking advantage of gaps in their attacks for FiF to come off cooldown, but my hp was trending downwards. DGK killed me easily since he does the most damage. Also, DoTs do not trigger Forged in Fire and about 1/3 of DGK’s miscellaneous damage was from a DoT effect. The best part is dropping under the damage he does in 1 hit, and knowing that I have no way to heal up enough for Forged in Fire to be able to proc, and just waiting to die.
same as above, tank glyphs: same self-heal issues, without the ability to burst dps. completed fewer bosses than in dps gear.
Hammer+Fist, max dps gear, E13. used Renewal instead of 2 dps power moves. Back to no Forged in Fire. CD started to contribute meaningfully. The smiler drone (with laser adds) and DGK were doing more damage than I could heal in a face to face fight, I killed smiler before dropping to 0 hp, and kiting DGK got me enough cooldowns + energy to beat him.

I didn’t have Expertise the entire beta, that would certainly step up my effective gear level quite a bit.

I have to revise my statement in another post slightly, FiF puts your effective hp at a range from 1 attack to 75%-1 attack hp. So for example on an E8 boss doing 900/cast, if you have 15000 hp on paper, you actually have a working range of 900 to 10350 (9450 total hp). You can’t heal to above that range and you can’t heal from below it, if FiF is your solo heal source.

It’s a garbage ability and I hate that it’s now the only self heal in the entire hammer arsenal. Pain suppression was ineffective but at least you decided when to cast it.

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I tried strong survivors E17. Had pink robot as 3rd boss, and was unable to get past it as summoned baby robots overwhelmed eventually and Cruel Delight and Animal shot were not able to keep up with incoming damage.

They destroyed me too when I was trying “on level”; CD and one active heal didn’t keep me going. My tactics were obviously off, but I really missed that ticking heal…

If I’m to go away from Hammer’s Pain Suppression as an emergency button, I’ll have to find a replacement for Eruption’s interrupt and AoE damage too. First idea was to use Kneecapper, since my main for DA is shotgun, but in the rebalance it gets 60 seconds CD. So it got me thinking: all 3 tanking weapons have 2 interrupts each, with 20 seconds CD, and hammer/chaos keep those after rebalance, since their interrupt elites are non-tanking.
Would it be somehow possible to make Kneecapper remain 20 seconds ability when not used for tanking? Like, make Stand Firm the same kind of passive(turn-into-tanking-elite) as Supremacy? Or have it change CD based on AA Survivability %?

For reference, you can get 60s elites down to 38s with a maxed out cd reduction signet, and then get that down to 27s with Efficiency mk3. I’d personally very much like to keep it this way, since 60s elites now are much stronger than 20s ones. I’d rather actually build around them.


On this note one of the great things about 60 second elites is that you actually need to be decisive on when to use them. It makes game-play more dynamic instead of having a safety net that is always present. This is essentially what sustain tanking was based around, an eternal loop of safety. After these changes this should hopefully not be required any longer.


It’ll definitely add a measure of, how should I put it, “excitement”. I won’t lie, I really appreciate having one or two “ooooOooh Sheeee-!” options I can choose. I guess it’s like Nirvelle said on TL when I noted that I would have to rediscover how to heal after 2 years plus of sustain.

“without panic.”


I never stopped playing normal tank (hammer/shotgun, only thick skin + glutton for punishment + prot gadget, no self-heals until I randomly got green shells) but that’s a steady 50k+ prot putting me at ~30-40% hp taken per attack, the new hp tuning is definitely gonna make it more interesting for healers. I dunno, when you use random queue people want to heal so I just let them.

I do kinda think the full elimination of self healing for tanks was necessary though, I believe I can run up to E6 or 7 purely on CD & Pulverize’s heal if I use that build.

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It’s not about using Kneecapper for tanking, but simply as interrupt. Like, if a non-tanking version of the ability has lowered/missing glance % bonus, it’d be OK. Some fights in DA want me to interrupt twice in a row, and then again within ~30 seconds, plus cleanse myself. Doing this on Shotgun primary is (will be) harder than on other weapons that have two interrupts because their interrupts do not receive increased CDs in the rebalance.
Another solution can be adding a knockdown to initial hit of Full Salvo.

Um, nope. Need a cleanse? Slot the best one around: Cleanup. Need 2 interrupts? CQC and your gadget have you covered. The gadget cd with time and space maxed may even be enough to handle both interrupts without needing CQC. You don’t need a cleanse gadget because Cleanup is just that good. Shotgun actually has a really easy time covering it, arguably more than the other tank weapons, which don’t have the cleanse abilities.


I felt that too. One of the selling points for shotgun was always for me that you had 3 useful Elites that you could switch around.
Now you have the clear dps one, the utility one for “Do I have to bring expose?” (which got considerable weaker do to Nemain interaction changes) and Kneecapper who takes you so long to get back that it is not worth bothering over 3 times full salvo and the interrupt on another slot.
Does shotgun need more interrupts: No. But it needs the existing ones more viable. CQC is extremly short range and Kneecapper long cooldown (And by god don’t come with “But if you slot the cooldown signet and a efficency weapon”…we are not talking about tank and “just go tank” is not a good solution. That is not a decision like changing underwear)
I suspect that shotgun will be one of the weapons that gets some tweaking if the dps balance ever roles around. So that this and a few other things can be worked out. Right now shotgun mainhand dps is chaotic at best, detrimental at worst. Even for cleansing duty offhand is probably more viable than mainhand.

Except that it literally is an option. Sure, you have to build for it, but that’s what i’m personally planning to do. Carrying an Efficiency weapon and a cooldown reduction signet doesn’t make you automagically a tank. This is a setup i’m actually planning to make myself for DA.

Besides, carrying Kneecapper on live just for the sake of an interrupt was likely already inefficient.

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There are changes planned for the most egregious offender for requiring double interrupt (that being Anima Drain/Anima Transfusion on Damaged Gatekeeper). I do not know if they will make it into the next beta test or not, sorry.

That said, the boss stats in Dark Agartha are being tweaked a little for the next phase.

It’s worth saying that the bosses are balanced with the expectation that your character is setup with:

  • 90/10 Damage/Survivability Anima Allocation
  • Your primary weapon’s basic passive (the one that heals you)
  • Gear-level appropriate Signet of Cruel Delight. Yes, in its post-nerf form, the boss damage was adjusted for that.

Of course, there’s enough wiggle room that you can swap in a secondary weapon with power heal ability, or bring other forms of mitigation (like defensive glyphs) instead of one of the above bullet points.

These are simply the expectations and assumptions that were made when balancing the content.


If that was intended to be adequate in the first test, then as a specific point of feedback, DGK does way too much damage to melee players. His (I’m bad at ability names sorry) Malfunction is too large a DGK-centered AoE to avoid damage, even if you dodge as soon as he starts casting and have Quickness. I only avoid damage entirely if I start running away before he starts casting (I do this every time Transfusion ends, and also to avoid misc. other attacks, so it sometimes happens). It’s very normal for me to get hit twice. It also disables both sources of healing (Cruel Delight requires attacking him, Forged in Fire requires getting hit, Immortal Spirit, Vigour, Paradoxical Restoration all require attacking him). Also, if he casts Destruction Protocol and then casts Anima Drain, you have to get hit multiple times to interrupt it.

Smiler Mech also seems a bit unfair for melee, you can’t kill his bots or interrupt them, just trigger their suicide by running over to them.

[edit] I think I swapped Malfunction and Destruction Protocol’s names in my head. Malfunction’s the one that’s DGK-centered, Destruction Protocol casts on the player and is also too large to dodge out of (but applies to all weapons)

I don’t wanna push too far but I think Forged in Fire preventing most or all the damage on the hit that activates it would put it on par with the other passive heals that do not require you to take damage. It seems unfair that a Hammer player has to take 2000 damage from DGK before using their 3700 heal, other classes can just… heal.

In the interest of open-ness, one of my sources of healing that actually stacks up quite well compared to post-balance CD/basic is Band of the Bacab + Purification Drone Model UW-0 + Signet of Time and Space Alteration. Every 12 seconds (at my high e15 live IP) it heals for 864 + 230 per effect cleansed (up to 6). Can easily be 1800-2000 healed in DA, but has twice the frequency of Forged in Fire (so 3600-4000, while FiF does 3750)

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Malfunction does reflect damage, so none of the weapons are really able to keep up healing during the cast, unless you have a direct heal. It used to be that you could pop pain suppression and keep attacking, but that’s out with the changes. I haven’t yet tried out using tanking cds to see if I can keep going through Malfunction, but it’s not a melee specific issue.

Destruction has 2 sizes, the bigger version is too large to totally avoid damage by dodging, but it’s possible to get out of the smaller one if your reactions are quick enough.

Security 5’s drones almost all come to you. Denial drones are the notable exception, but that’s their purpose. You can pretty much ignore Denial and suppression drones though, as they don’t really do much damage to you. Welders, reconstruction, intervention and demolition drones can all be killed by melee users, and they can all be interrupted.