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Depths, Dynasty, and Empyrean; Ice, Fire, and Nature

 Depths, Dynasty, and Empyrean; Ice, Fire, and Nature

Cover image look familiar? That’s probably because this week’s Mutation Rotation had to be re-written less than 8 hours after it was released. While it is nice to have the Empyrean Forge in the mix to help people get those final Seasonal challenges, changing the mutation types on The Depths and Dynasty was NOT COOL MAN.

I hope you didn’t spend too much on gearing up only to have to do it all over again. 

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

Mutation specific

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. You’ll probably be using the same Corrupted gear, so either pick one mutation to specialise in this week, or put generic gems like Opals in your armour and max out your jewelry with a protection amulet and mutation specific gems.

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.

Ice, Ice, Baby! Everything slows down in the cold and this mutation is no exception. At M1 level we start with Icebound, which means all enemies are dealing Ice Damage, so pull out your Aquamarines and Frozen Protection amuletMost annoying is Shiver, a zone of exclusion that bites anyone who is outside of it, which keeps the group huddled up together. Be careful of enemies with Glacial, as they will drop a crystal that can root you in place. To prevent this, you need to destroy or run away from the crystal, depending on where it is positioned.

When you get to M3, 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.

The Curse of the Overgrown Garden is Desiccated, which is your basic dip and nae-nae. When a player gets an Ice ring around them, they need to dip all team members in order to remove their Shrivel. But make sure they nae-nae away before the timer ends to avoid spiking others with a chain Ice for 50% of their max health. If you’re unlucky enough to be left shriveled, damage and healing will be reduced by 50% until the debuff wears off.

Expedition specific

General buffs

The Dynasty Shipyard we explored on our way to level 60 has become a lot more difficult, and more rewarding. Healers, in particular, can get some very nice looking loot here, and as a mutation it’s all at that higher level. 

The two boss fights in Dynasty can be tricky, and it can be good to bring an off-tank to the dog fight in order to keep them separated. Empress Zhou Taiyang is as challenging as ever, so remember to stay away from her pink magic, stack the pylons against the back wall and run back to the door to fight.

Burn baby burn, this rotation it’s Fire. At M1, we start with the basic Hellfire. Look at the enemies’ nameplates to see whether they are Explosive, and be sure to position yourself well away from edges when they die, to avoid being blown over. Fiery enemies apply Burn, giving you a Fire DOT, so it’s worth drinking some Desert Sunrise before you start. Ignited enemies deal 50% of their damage as Fire, so slot Rubies in your armour and wear a Flame Protection amulet to get your Fire resistance up. Enemies with Enflamed can cast a Burn zone on the ground, so watch your positioning.

Once we reach M3, we start seeing Mage Hunters, who drain mana when hit, so healers need to make sure their mana potions are slotted. Silence enemies cast a zone in which no abilities can be used, but at least it doesn’t have the explosion at the end.

In the higher levels of the mutation, players are Censored with silence. Starting at M6, using abilities causes a meter to build up and when it is full, silence is cast on each member of the group where they are standing. Abilities cannot be used inside the silence zone and when it expires, it detonates with a massive 65% max health damage. So it’s pretty important to keep an eye on the meter and make sure that silence zones are strategically placed, especially in boss battle arenas. While silence is active, natural mana regen is turned off, however you can get 25 mana per 0.75 seconds by standing in the silence. Just don’t be in there when it explodes!

Expedition specific

General buffs

The Empyrean Forge is a fire-themed mountain stronghold, with mechanical puzzles and giant gears and pistons. The majority of enemies are Human Varangians, but there are also quite a few Lost ghosties around. Our advice is to stick with Human Ward, the Lost are not significant. Slash weapons are strong, but with the changes adding a 10% bonus to ranged Banes, there is scope for a wide range of character builds here. An interesting feature of the humans is they use weapons just like us and have similar moves. However, they don’t seem to be governed by the same cooldowns!

As you might expect from a Forge, there is quite a lot of fire around so you might either consider splitting your elemental protection, or using the new gear sets to swap out your setup for the boss fights. At the very least, a Fire Protection amulet will come in handy.

The first boss, Ifrit, is a fiery scythe-wielding worm-type boss who likes to throw his flames about. There are a few mechanics to watch out for, but once you have these down he’s not too bad. He stays in the middle of the room, rather than burrowing like some other worms we know.  You can avoid the fiery space invaders by going prone, just make sure the floor is clear when you do. When he starts to project lines of flames, run anti-clockwise around him with them. The closer you are to him, the easier this is. Just don’t get burnt!

Commander Marius is the final boss and he also likes his fiery tortures. At some points during the fight, the floor is literally lava. Thankfully, there are some safety platforms provided in the corners of the room, just watch out if he joins you on them or drops a giant fiery meatball. For the DPS, ranged attacks allow you to stay out of reach from his heavy hitting AoE, so it might be worth considering a bow or magic weapon.

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 pretty intense DOTs (20-40%), 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 when hit, so Amber slotted in your gear will protect you.

When we get to M3, some of the mini-bosses gain Phalanx shields that block projectiles, which is particularly annoying for healers who are trying to speed up their cooldowns or charge up their heals with heavy attacks. If you play ranged DPS, make sure you have a melee weapon in your other slot and be aware that heals might be a bit less powerful. Vampiric also makes an appearance, which can make enemies slower to kill but to be honest, it’s not particularly noticeable.

The first of our Fiendish curses is Weary, which starts at M6 and 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.

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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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