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Dynasty, Starstone, and Gen – Nature, Ice, Fire

 Dynasty, Starstone, and Gen – Nature, Ice, Fire

This triple mutation is already feeling much better than the old doubles, as we’re halfway through the available dungeons in the second week. Genesis is back for those who missed the brief window for the hatchet before the last update. We also have another chance at Blooddrinker for anyone who doesn’t have it, although I do wonder whether the new Phoenix coming in Season 5 will steal the jewelry artifact slot for safety play in future. Finally, we have Dynasty and another opportunity to pick up the bleedy sword.

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

Mutation specific

Artifact: The Butcher Sword

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.

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 - Oppressive

Once we reach M2, we start seeing Mage Hunters, who drain mana when hit, so healers need to make sure their mana potions are slotted. Suppressor enemies cast a silence zone in which no abilities can be used, but at least it doesn’t have the explosion at the end.

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: Blooddrinker Ring

The Starstone Barrows is an exotic mashup of our first dungeon experiences, with the expedition taking adventurers through both Starstone and Amrine. We start in Starstone and then instead of ascending the stairs to the central pillar, a breakage appears to our left and we sneak into Amrine to face Simon Grey. Then we work backwards through Amrine until we return to Starstone on the other side of the central pillar. This means we get a fun split of Ancient and Lost enemies, and need to carry double the potions. 

Just like at the end of Amrine, Simon is a heavy hitter with a periodic minion spawn, but now he’s completely buffed. If you don’t manage to dodge his smash-down attack, there’s a good chance of light-armoured players being wiped. On top of that, if you can’t kill his minions, he eats them up for a little heal, prolonging the fight.

Time is tight in this dungeon and there are a few tough fights where the mobs are grouped up or skipped. Keep those Ward potions handy and make sure you have a good healer.

The final boss, Greundgul the Regent, whose voice taunts us all the way through, has a fairly predictable mechanic and isn’t too bad as far as dungeon bosses go. The most important thing here is that everyone sticks together, literally stacking on one another during the jumping phase to help co-ordinate the dodges. Also during the bone throwing phase, it’s good to keep those bones close and take advantage of our AOE damage. If you can get a ranged attack on her face when she lands her jump, it makes everything easier as it stuns her and stops her jumping phase early.

Mutation: Icebound

Ice, Ice, Baby! Everything slows down in the cold and this mutation is no exception. 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.

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Aquamarines, 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 - Censored

In M3, players are Censored with silence. 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. You can deliberately set off Silence before big fights, and in boss battle arenas you can clump to stack the Silence and reduce the area impacted. 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

Mutation specific

Artifact: Freya’s Francisca Hatchet

The Garden of Genesis is one of the classic expeditions, having been in the game since release and very popular as a place to raise your item expertise. It’s the only Angry Earth dungeon and can be run pretty fast, although there are a couple of sticky spots that can slow groups down. The worst of these is Alluvium Marl, the Caretaker, who guards his Greenhouse in the middle of the dungeon. He can be seen terrifying those facing him. Our advice for this boss is to just kill him, and do it fast.

Mutation: Hellfire

Burn baby burn, this rotation it’s Fire. 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.

At M1 level, everything is a bit easier, so you will be fine with Opals rather than Rubies, 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 - Dessicated

The Curse of the Burning Garden is Desiccated, which is your basic dip and nae-nae. When a player gets a Fire 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 Fire 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.

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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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