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Depths and Barnacles, Nature and Void

 Depths and Barnacles, Nature and Void

While the mutations have rotated this week, the patch that was due to start off Season 4 has been delayed. This means that we don’t know how long we’ll have these mutations up, so just keep that in mind when considering applying gems to your gear. Historically, large updates cause the mutations to rotate again.

There are three levels of Mutation, as well as Story mode, for each Expedition.

  • M1 requires 650 gear score and is relatively easy, introducing the mechanics of the mutation type at a reduced level of damage.
  • M2 is a little harder and requires 675 gear score, with increased scaling and the addition of the Promotion challenges. It is still quite simple to do with an experienced group and is probably the most efficient mode, with improved loot for little effort.
  • M3 requires 695+ gear score and optimised perks, gems and buffs. It is considerably more challenging than M2, both with increased scaling and the addition of the mutation Curse as well as the Promotion.

Note: Elemental damage gems in your weapons are simply recommendations based on the elements your enemies are weakest to. Your playstyle may suit non-elemental gems better and you are encouraged to continue using those if so.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Artifact: Lost Stopwatch Amulet

At mutation level, The Depths is a different place than the one you visited on your journey to level 60. There’s no time to get the hidden crate in the tree anymore, it’s all go, go, go. 

The biggest challenge in this dungeon is Archdeacon Azamela in the Unholy Pit. His bombs do Void damage, so you may want to bring a Void Protection amulet to swap out for this fight and slot Void Absorption potions in your hotbar. The Archdeacon’s bombs have been buffed, so you really need to get the bubbles popped on each side as fast as you can. It’s better to send everyone at once, two on each side and the healer with the weaker team, rather than try and keep up with the bombs in the second round.

Thorpe, on the other hand, does Fire damage, so a Flame protection amulet might be good here, or even Slash protection to reduce the devastating damage done by his big sword.

Mutation: Overgrown

Overgrown means those mobs are going to be healing one another, which really should be a privilege exclusive to us. Compost mobs drop a healing circle that works like a Sacred Ground for them and looks a bit like one too. This is one of the rare times that disease perks are useful in PVE, so pull out your Hatchet with Infected Throw, or slot a weapon with Plagued Strikes or Plagued Crits. Your Bile Bomb heartrune will also spread disease around, so vomit away to your heart’s content.

Toxic mobs spawn THE most annoyingly friendly little green blob that follows you around, does damage over time that increases at the higher mutations, and casts an area root. We just love not being able to move and getting damaged at the same time! Best bet is to try and stay out of its way. If you get stuck, it might be worth it to have Nature Absorption potions slotted and chug one down. Arboreal enemies are dealing 50% of damage as Nature, and Bramble enemies deal 20-40% base damage as Nature, so Amber slotted in your gear will protect you.

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Ambers, and may not need to use Ward potions or Coatings.

M2 - Barbaric

At M2, some enemies start being Barbarically buffed. Shattering is annoying for your tank, dealing 40-75% increased stamina damage! It might even be worth stacking more of the stamina perks to keep up. Watch out for those large Enraged enemies, who deal 50% more damage once they get 20 stacks of Fury.

M3 - Fiendish

The first of our M3 curses is Weary, which slows down player movement as well as increasing damage taken by 20%. This is on a timer and while you’re meant to be able to delay it by using abilities, it’s been glitchy in game so don’t rely on that.

The other curse is Blood Offering. Using abilities causes a 4.5% Nature DoT, which can stack up to 3 times, however while under the influence of Offering players also get a 25% life leech. So as long as you’re doing damage, this curse has little effect. The main person it impacts is the healer, so they may need to focus on healing themselves. Drinking some Desert Sunrise before you start the expedition should help reduce the effect.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

Artifact: Void Darkplate Heavy Chest

Arrrrrr me hearties, let’s get Lost and Angry. Barnacles and Black Powder is mostly full of Lost enemies like pirates and ghosties, but features a couple of angry ole tentacles and a final boss having an identity crisis. The Lost are particularly weak to Nature damage, so consider putting an Amber in your weapon. Hammers and Ice Gauntlets have a slight advantage but feel free to make use of the features of your favourite weapon if you prefer. As always, attribute food and honing stones keep you at your best.

The last boss in Barney’s is so annoying, she deserves a mention of her own. While she does move to a predictable pattern, her attacks become quite frenetic and she closes in the arena dramatically, leaving very little wiggle room toward the end of the fight. Legend has it that despite looking very similar to her Lost sister the Siren Queen, Nereid is of the Angry Earth with modified Lost weaknesses. Instead of the regular 30% Nature, 15% Ice, 10% Strike, she is weak to 30% Ice and 20% Strike only. So use some Angry Earth ward and coatings, but while it might be worth swapping to an ice weapon, don’t be fooled into thinking your slash weapon would be any stronger than it already is.

Mutation: Eternal

It’s all purple in Barney’s this week, with the Eternal mutation transforming the enemies to Void damage, so go with the theme and protect yourself with AmethystsParanoia is particularly annoying, with stacks building up as you hit the enemy. When you reach 4 stacks, a purple pool appears at your feet, dealing 40-70% damage. This is easily dodged as an individual, but when the melee are crowded together, you can end up with some big spikes of pain. It might be an opportunity to try a ranged DPS team for a change, with the tank holding aggro and 3 bow users shooting from afar. Creeping enemies Empower their friends when they die and Oblivion enemies use a life leech that heals them when they hit you. 

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Amethysts, and may not need to use Ward potions or Coatings.

M2 - Savage

When you get to M2, Festering enemies start to appear, dealing disease against you so your incoming healing will be reduced. Remember, debuffs can be Purified in a number of ways. Slicer enemies also turn up, adding 30% base Void damage, so think about diversifying your protective gems in this mutation.

M3 - Frenzied

The real trouble starts when things get Frenzied. At M3, players begin being penalised for dodging, by acquiring a stack of Unstable that does 1.5% of max health as Void damage per second for 10 seconds and cannot be cleansed. You can get up to three of these stacks, and when you do it drops a 3m radius zone that does 10% of max health per second for 15 seconds – ouch, that’s 150% of your health if you just stand there! If you enter this zone with stacks of Unstable, it will consume them and do 30% of max HP. So, it’s really important to manage your stacks and move away from the group if you can’t avoid dropping a puddle. Don’t poop on the group.

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Landi

Landi is an avid furniture collector and regular DPS for Don't Die Alone. She contributes to the Mutation Rotation and Faction Control series of articles.

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