Intentions of this Guide
The Intentions of this guide, is to provide general guidelines for how Dark Agartha works, and what you can do to come out on the other side in one piece. It is not a guide intended to provide specific builds or tactics, but rather the tools to develop those yourself.
A Little Background (for those interested)
Aside from Testlive experience, I also play 4 distinctly different builds on live. Non of my builds are BiS, at least not for DPS optimization reasons, but i pull through Dark Agartha just fine on all of them. Between my characters i have Blade/Elemental E10 (~1000 IP) done at E10. Chaos/Fist E5 with a focus on clones, done at E5. AR/Pistol E6 done at E5/6. Blood/Elemental E3 done at E2. The only reason i don’t run my Blood/Elemental higher, is because she is barely E3, and i don’t wanna risk it at all. Their builds are different enough, that i approach Dark Agartha in very different ways. I could share my builds, but it would be doing nobody any favours. The main focus for me with these weapons, were for character reasons, and any advantages that came from it, was mostly dumb luck.
The different parts of Dark Agartha
What is Dark Agartha
Dark Agartha at a first glance, is a sort of solo dungeon, on a time limit. Each day, you are faced with a new set of challenges, which are the same for everyone, on any given day. Due to it’s changing nature, the worst you can do, is go in and expect to use the same build. In fact, you don’t even wanna be using the same build for each fight, but rather do small changes as you go, to adapt to the differences in enemies. Dark Agartha is supposed to really challenge your combat skills, both in combat, and in making the right build choices.
Some hard facts
- Except for your very first run through, you spend 7 AP and 15 SP to attune to the time stream, per attempt.
- For each attempt, you have 3 lives. After 3 deaths, you will be thrown out of the time stream.
- For each attempt you have 17min to get to the end. If the time runs out, you will be thrown out of the time stream.
- Dark Agartha can be completed one time per day. You can attempt as many times as you want.
These are gonna get their own section, because that is just how important they are. Do Not ignore these. Before each boss, there is a broken Knowledge on the ground, providing information about the fight ahead of you. Adjusting your build according to the information in these, will decide if your build make it or break it.
Each fight will contain 4 types of Modules.
- Up to 2 Actives
- Up to 2 Passives
There is currently about 55 Modules between the 4 types. Some are Exclusive to each other, while other exclude each other.
The number of Actives and Passives depend both on the fight number, and on the Elite level. There is only ever 1 Boss and 1 Environment module. The Module combinations for the day, are largely the same for everyone, the only difference is that higher Elites might have an extra Passive or Active, compared to the combos found on lower Elites.
Aside from the last fight, which always use the same Boss, the platforms can have any of the different bosses applied to them. Bosses generally come with a normal attack and two cast bar attacks, most of which can not be interrupted. For the most part their own abilities are fairly simple.
For the first 4 fights, you have two platforms you can end up going to. One is a special platform, which on it’s own is an Environmental Module. The other is a normal platform, which can have 1 of 4 different Environmental Modules applied to it. The Last fight is itself a special platform, and there is no normal option. As such the last fight always uses the same Environmental Module.
Active Modules apply extra active abilities to the boss, which they cast throughout the fight, alongside their normal abilities. There are a few exceptions where an Active Module replaces a normal ability of a Boss, if the Active Module is an upgraded version of the Bosses normal attack. Some Actives spawn effects that stick around on the field like a sort of environment. Others are more typical abilities, like debuffs, crowd control or heals. These types of actives you can often do something about, either after they have been cast, or before they finish.
Passive Modules do as their name suggest, they work passively. The most common of them have a chance to affect the player through different effects. A few of them affect the boss either permanently from the start, or over time. The less common Passive Modules are combo passives. They change the nature of their corresponding Active Module. This of cause means they only show up, if the Active Module is also part of the fight. Some of them will work like an active cast, but at the core of it they still simply modify, what an Active Module does, and therefor count as a Passive Module.
Guidelines for the Player
If you are doing Dark Agartha at your appropriate Elite level, what follows is for you. If you are way overgeared for the Elite level you run, then the following “balance” might not be for you.
Basic Build Balance
A good place to start is putting your Anima Allocation to 20/80 survivability/DPS. Not only does it give you more HP, but it also gives you more Protection, which directly lowers the damage you take. In addition you should still expect to bring some sort of Active and/or Passive heal. You can go with 100 DPS Allocation, but then you will likely need to compensate with Active or Passive abilities.
Since the whole thing is on a timer, you don’t wanna overdo the survival part of your build too much. The best way to determine the right balance, is to test it against the bosses in Dark Agartha. If you never fall below 50% HP, then you should be able to squish out some more DPS, either through Allocation or through changing abilities. If you can’t heal faster than you die, well then you need more survival in your build.
Just inside the portal, when entering Dark Agartha, you can find the Irreparable Custodian of Curios. This guy can sell you special items, to help you during your time in Dark Agartha. Items all cost Marks of Favour. Items with white names, can only be used before you attune to the time stream. Items with red names can only be used while attuned to the time stream, and can be added to the shortcut bar slot 2 and 3.
Mushroom Coated Hagstone: Spawns in all 5 broken Knowledge at the start, so you can prepare a tactic before starting the timer. This can help save you time between bosses.
Crystalline Anima Shard: Gives you an extra life so you have a total of 4 lives. Lasts for 1 attempt.
Luxon-Rich Spray: Adds another 5min to your timer. Lasts for 1 attempt.
Gravity-Resistant Spores: If you fall off the platforms, a life will not be subtracted. Lasts for 1 attempt.
Bottled Flames: Increases damage with 100%, and decrease damage taken by 75% for 20sec. Great for fights/moments in a fight, that you don’t want drawn out.
Idunn’s Bounty: For 2min, until triggered, should your health reach 0, you will instead be healed to full health. Great if you are about to die, or for fights where you know there is a great risk of sudden death.
In Addition the following potions can help push your limits. The Destilled Anima can be bought from the Irreparabale Custodian of Curios as well.
Distilled Anima - Heal Rating and Attack Rating: + 600 Heal Rating, + 600 Attack Rating, for 30min or until death.
Distilled Anima - Max Health and Attack Rating: + 1000 Max Health, + 600 Attack Rating, for 30min or until death.
Distilled Anima - Max Health and Heal Rating: + 1000 Max Health, + 600 Heal Rating, for 30min or until death.
Pure Anime - Supreme Potency: +1500 Max Health, + 1000 Attack Rating, + 1000 Heal Rating, for 30min. Not removed upon death.
The Gadget slot is perfect for quickly changing a Utility ability in your build. Cleanse is by far the most useful Utility in Dark Agartha, followed by Stun, and Anti Crowd Control. Alternatively you can slot your favourite Healing, Damage, Movement or Protection Gadget, if the fight doesn’t require any of the aforementioned. Below is a list of some useful, situational, Utility Gadgets.
Ashibakasshi’s Hoop: Passively cleanses every 15sec. Cleanses 4 effects instantly, if activated. Activation puts both passive and active cleanse on 50/40/30sec CD. Great for clearing many Debufs instantly.
Purification Drone Model UW-0: Cleanses 1 effect/sec for 6sec. 30sec CD. Slower to clear lots of Debuffs, but can catch potential follow-up Debuffs for 6sec after activation.
Electrogravitic Attractor: 15m ranged pull on a 50/45/40/35/30sec CD. While the bosses can’t be pulled, it will still work as an interrupt.
Ultrasonic Anti-Personnel Canon: 10m ranged knock back (15m) on a 50/45/40/35/30sec CD. While the bosses can’t be pushed, it will still work as an interrupt.
The Mistress’s Bashosen: Melee knockdown with a 30sec CD. Easier to get your hands on, but at a range disadvantage.
Phoenician Support Stratagem: Removes Crowd Control effects, and make you immune to Crowd Control for 3sec. 50/45/40/35/30sec CD.
I strongly recommend running some sort of passive heal. By far the strongest is the Signet of Cruel Delight. Signet of Thirst is another option, instead of Cruel Delight. Additionally/alternatively the healing from a Restoration weapon can also be used. Lastly the first passive for every weapon, has some sort of heal build into it.
Know your Weaknesses
Depending on your Weapon Combo, you will have different Modules that are a threat to you, depending on the Utility options in your abilities. This is not to say certain Weapon Combos are doomed from the start, if faced with these Modules. Often the Gadget can make up for any lethal disadvantages your Weapon Combo might have. On the flip side, this also means different Weapon Combos have an advantage over others, depending on the Modules. All in all, this means you need to focus your build changes differently. If a fight includes the Purging Module, then Defensive Buff builds lose their defense, while builds that don’t buff, don’t have to worry about the module at all. If faced with one of the many Debuff Modules, then Cleanse weak builds will suffer more than naturally cleanse heavy ones. Learn what Modules you need to look out for, so you can ignore the irrelevant ones, and focus on adjusting your build against the Modules that matter.
What Can You Do
Often i see people focus everything on what they can’t do with their Weapons. Instead you should focus on what you can do. Every weapon has something they are bad at, and the bad is always easier to spot than the good. Below I’ll go over some obvious, and maybe less obvious, advantages you can work with, and where they might fall short.
Protection Buffs: Protection buffs are great for slowing down the speed at which the enemy can kill you. They are also great against those sudden heavy hit moments. If there is no healing to support these abilities, you will in the long run still lose the fight. They also take away from your overall DPS. The “Purging” passive module can really mess up these types of builds.
Debilitated: Many underestimate the value of Debilitated. In dungeons they rarely matter with the current tank meta, but what if you are not a tank. Because this is a debuff on the boss, it will work where the Protection Buffs fail. The “Robust” passive Module cancels out this tactic entirely.
Healing: this is essentially what will make you outlast the boss. Allocation and Protection only slows down the dying process, but unless you finish the fight real quick, you will be on the loosing side without healing. Healing can be active, or it can be passive. Be aware that if the healing is done with a Buff, then the “Purging” passive Module can still be a threat.
Damage Buffs: While not a common utility, some weapons still have this. In many cases this can push your DPS a bit, and might even come with other utilities. This tactic is obviously also weak to the “Purging” module. It’s especially useful against the “Rage” active Module, along with other Modules that force your attacks to cease for a while. It is unaffected by the “Robust” passive Module.
Exposed: Like Damage Buffs, this lets you deal more damage for a short time. It comes with a lot of the same advantages. As this is a Debuff, it is unaffected by “Purging”, but canceled out by “Robust”.
Cleanse: This is where some Weapons suffers. There are a lot of Debuff Modules that can apply, and one of the bosses is dedicated to Debuffing you. The Gadget can get you through this, but you have to watch your timing, and you might have to bring extra healing/protection to counter what you can’t clear.
Movement: So this one is not a winner on it’s own, and might seem silly to some. Dark Agartha is AoE heavy, which means you need to stay moving. A speed buff, or dash abilities can help greatly in some situations. With dashes you gotta be a bit careful where you land. Unless your movement ability, adds a secondary useful effect, i would rarely prioritize it over a damaging ability. The exception would be Modules that force you to move longer distances. Closing the distance faster, means you can hit the boss faster again.
A lot of work was put into making Dark Agartha more equal across the different ranges of the weapons. What i mention below, will seem like i focus on why Melee doesn’t suck, and Ranged weapons do. This is mainly because you already know why Melee suck and Ranged weapons don’t, and not to discredit the difference your range brings.
Being melee is hard, no surprise there. When you picked up two melee weapons, you signed up for the disadvantage it brings. Once more, make the best of it, instead of being stuck on how hard it is. Below are a few things that might help.
Find your max range. Many melee players tent to hug the boss, don’t do that, find out how far you can actually get away, while still reaching them.
Most bosses will follow melee range. Aside from special situations, most of the time the bosses will follow you at melee range, even if a lot of them have a ranged basic attack. Use this. Don’t let the boss dictate where you fight.
Focus on your near surroundings. Since you are primarily in melee range, don’t waste your focus on things at mid or long range. That moving AoE on the other side of the arena doesn’t matter.
Controlling persistent Boss AoEs. Many of the AoE’s depend in one way or another, on where the player is. If the AoE leaves a damaging Area behind, think about what you can do to get it out of your way.
Ranged weapons are always easier, if for no other reason, then because you can keep attacking, even while AoEs are raining down around you at any position compared to the boss.
Bosses follow melee. So this is great for melee players, less great for ranged. Normally you can sit safely at a range, and completely ignore what happens around the boss. That is harder to do, when the boss insist on being in your face.
Running as Mitigation. Some Ranged players are too used to standing still. Just because the boss follows you, doesn’t mean you can’t use running as a means to prevent damage, so move it.
Constant Movement could kill you. So this is a bit contradicting to the above, but both hold true. The moment you move, you have to worry about what is in your current surrounding, but also what you are stepping into. As a result your focus area becomes larger, if just for the duration of the move.
Some Modules were designed to harass Ranged Players. A lot of the Modules, were designed to specifically harass Ranged players. Memory of Flames and Cyclone are great examples of this. Column attacks are also easier to control as a melee.
Many Modules are equally bad for melee and ranged on a movement basis. The Boss centered AoE’s are actually few. the TBAoEs are no better for melee and ranged when it comes to getting hit by it.
Hybrid Melee/Ranged or Ranged/Melee:
Being a Hybrid, in either configuration, comes with the advantage and disadvantage of both. The one thing that stands out is the focus area. Regardless of your configuration, there are times when you need to close or widen your range, which generally means your focus area becomes larger on a more permanent basis.
End comments & Request.
I hope this guide will be of some use to my fellow bees. Any feedback or suggestions/corrections are more than welcome. If there are any questions, or need for specifications, feel free to ask. That said i am really not an expert when it comes to the numbers game, so don’t expect too much. Others are of cause more than welcome to add their thoughts too.
What i don’t want to see is complaining/praise about the current state of Dark Agartha, Weapon balance, etc. This is a guide for the current state of things, not a feedback thread for Dark Agartha or anything else. If I see someone pulling the “discussion” off the guide and into Funcom feedback territory, I will personally report it as off topic for it to be removed. I see this happen with way too many threads on the forum, so the original topic looses all meaning. Please respect the topic, and the work put into it.