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Tarn, Tempest, and Depths; Nature, Void, Ice

 Tarn, Tempest, and Depths; Nature, Void, Ice

It really feels like we’re getting through these rotations a lot faster, with only two more expeditions before we’re through them all. I’ve not been the biggest fan of the randomised rotations previously, but it seems to be working well now. Get your Ice Gauntlet, Heavy gloves, or Amulet this week!

Edit: Nope! My count missed Savage Divide and the fact that we already had Tempest at the start of the cycle. So, three expeditions to go, and worst of all, this proves the random expedition code is not taking expeditions out of the pool. Why, AGS, why????!

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: Deep Freeze Ice Gauntlet

The Glacial Tarn is a frozen stronghold in the North-eastern corner of Great Cleave. It is connected to the Empyrean Forge and has a nice little deviation into Marius’ chamber. The first part of the expedition is Ancient, then you swap to Human, so in higher mutations you’ll be spending a bit on ward potions and coatings. 

Falling stalactites will plague you from the beginning of this dungeon, so look out for the telltale marking on the floor and avoid or dodge through them. Frozen enemies take very little damage unless you have the fire buff on you, so don’t be afraid to stand on the firepits. The buff only lasts less than a minute, so sometimes you may need to go back or forge forward to refresh it.

The first boss in this dungeon is the Ice Troll and he’s a doozy! While he is classified as Ancient, he takes 15% more Thrust and Fire damage, and 20% Lightning damage, so a ranged weapon like Bow or Firestaff could be a good option. This is where you get the artifact, so some groups will stop after this fight. The Troll doesn’t like to stay with the tank and has a number of moves that see him skating around the icy arena. A blue mark above your head means he’s going to charge at you, so get out of the way. He usually does a second charge too, so beware of that. If you see an icy cone on the floor, emanating from him towards to, get ready to dodge! The cone will follow you but you can dodge out of it at the right time.  During his tantrums, stalactites fall from the sky and they really hurt. You will be able to see an outline on the ground before they land so you can get out of the way. It’s okay to concentrate on staying alive during this phase and resume attacking when it’s over, if you need to.

The final boss has been buggy from the release of the dungeon, and while some of the bugs have been fixed, others remain. Try not to kill the mages while the bridges are down, in case it bugs the Giant Ice Elemental in the middle and makes our boss fail to enter the death sequence. The fight takes place on four platforms with bridges connecting them. When a red icon appears over the bridges, they are about to be destroyed, so don’t be caught standing on one. You can repair the bridges after a brief delay, by pressing E at the edge of the platform. The Giant Ice Elemental is powered by the mages and can be very annoying. When he crosses his arms, he is about to blow on a platform and make it uninhabitable. The group needs to move to another platform when this happens. If the mages are unprotected by their aura and the bridges are not down, you can kill them for a brief respite but they respawn quickly. If you get a blue symbol above your head, dodge or move to the side – an arrow or ice wave will be heading your way. If a bomb appears, destroy it quickly. When the Giant Ice Elemental has small greenish shields called weak spots up, Ser Loth gets a buff and you will do little damage to him. Nullifying Oblivion can remove the buff, or ranged attacks can destroy the weak spots.

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 - Dessicated

The Curse of the Overgrown Tarn is Desiccated, which is your basic dip and nae-nae. When a player gets a Nature 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 Nature 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

Mutation specific

Artifact: Magnetic Gauntlets Heavy Gloves

Tempest’s Heart is the longest expedition, with a generous hour allowed to complete it. Thrust weapons really penetrate through Corruption, so you’ll be likely to carry at least one. Spears not only have that damage bonus but also provide some strong debuffs like Perforate and if you have Enfeebling Skewer you can seriously reduce the damage to your team. Rapier offers fast damage with the bonus of constant bleeds and you can use Leeching Flurry to quickly regain your own health while robbing the enemy of theirs. If you prefer to stay out of reach, the Bow provides ranged damage and added DOT damage.

Isabella taunts us throughout this dungeon, finally remaining to finish the fight at the end. Remember to use your Azoth Staff on her once she falls, or she’ll rise up and you’ll have to repeat the fight. Before you make it to the final battle, you have to go through the fires of Neishatun. He will burrow into the ground three times, leaving you to navigate a series overlapping firey pools. If you’re standing in one when it pulses, you’ll take a stack of void DoT damage that cannot be cleansed until the fight is over.

Mutation: Eternal

It’s all purple in Tempest 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 - Indomitable

When we get to M2, 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, so your Bile Bomb heartrune might be useful.

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.

Expedition specific

General buffs

Mutation specific

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: 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 - 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% Ice 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 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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