The first dungeon available in Guild Wars 2 is the Ascalonian Catacombs story mode, which requires level thirty. The dungeon is a relatively challenging experience, compared to the events and personal story quests that you may have done up till this point. Don’t fret though; the dungeon is actually quite easy as long as you know the overall strategy for each encounter.
That strategy starts with preparedness. The first thing you’ll want to do is repair your gear to full, snag a salvage kit, and empty out as much of your inventory as possible. There is a lot of loot and no opportunity to sell any extra gear while in the dungeon. There is a repair anvil located at the front, so you can repair your gear without having to leave, and trust me – there is no shame to being downed while playing through the Ascalonian Catacombs.
That’s another thing to be prepared for. Wiping and learning the encounters is part of the experience. Your group may wipe several times, but thankfully the only punishment that you’ll receive is the need to repair your gear. Waypoints open up as your accomplish certain events, making the trip back to the action take no time at all.
Get your build setup. I can’t give much advice on what build works best, but you’ll want a resurrection skill most likely. It really helps in an event to get someone back up ASAP. Take at least one good defensive skill, and another either support or offensive skill. Summons work great, because they can snag the attention of some of the enemies and the flame traps, which can take the pressure off of your group. You’ll be able to switch things up as you move through the dungeon, so be ready to switch a few abilities out. Having an elite skill at this point is really helpful as well.
For group composition, you’ll want at least one good “tank” which can be a necromancer, warrior, guardian, or anyone built up to control the enemies. I beat half the dungeon with my elementalist and four engineers before the servers went down once, so you don’t have to have a good melee profession, but it can help to have someone at least get up in the enemies’ faces. The amount of damage bosses do is really high, so not even a guardian can really absorb the hits.
Blue blobs on the ground are ghosts. If you walk near it, a ghost will appear. It’s best to avoid the blue blobs until your party is ready to tackle them. Ghosts come in a few different flavors. Mesmers like to reflect projectiles, elementalists like to cast a really powerful AoE, warriors are, well, warriors, rangers do the ranged thing, and monks heal their buddies. You may want to take them out first.
Speaking of kill order, control – T or control-click will target an enemy. It helps to pick a target for everyone to focus on.
It's also important to note that loot is random and distributed on a per character basis. So you'll get your own loot and everyone else in the party will get theirs. You will receive the dungeon hat and the XP reward after the last boss in the dungeon is defeated. Loot is the same in the dungeon as it is outside of the dungeon, the drop rate is just higher.
One last note, events won't start until everyone watches the cutscene, so there is no harm in enjoying the story. Rytlock will also follow your team around and help fight enemies and Eir joins you around halfway in.
There is so much more I can mention on dodging, target calling, and more. If you're looking for more basic dungeon tips, be sure to check out our Dungeon Survival Guide.
With all of that in mind, let’s begin!
Finding Eir Stegalkin – Gate Guardian Napa
When you first enter, you’ll be given the quest to find Eir Stegalkin and a marker for deeper in the dungeon. You’ll need to do a few events before you can make this reasonably happen. First you’ll enter a room containing coffins and two blue blobs. It’s best to start with the ghosts, and then begin opening coffins until Gate Guardian Napa appears.
Gate Guardian Napa has a knockdown, it’s an AoE effect, so you’ll want to keep range on him. He can be crippled, stunned, interrupted, and knocked down. So keep the interrupts up on him and make sure that he doesn’t get in anyone’s face for too long. He’s rather easy, but he is a taste of the upcoming bosses that you’ll fight.
Finding Eir Stegalkin – Trap Rooms
After you face him, you’ll come to a corridor with two blue blobs and some spike traps. You’ll be dealing with two Ascalonians, a Monk and another, who will proceed to probably wipe your group if you’re not careful. The trick here is not fight on the traps and attack the monk first. They will come up to the top of the stairs to greet your party, so there isn’t much rush to run down into the spike traps and lose a few party members. This is probably going to wipe your party, even if you warn everyone not to run into the spike traps on the ground.
After that, you’ll want to make your way through the corridors until you come to a room with a door that has to be jammed open with a boulder and a room full of traps. You’ll need to double back to a room full of even more traps and sort of stay close to the wall until you pull a chain, summoning an Ascalonian Captain and disabling the traps. I marked it on the map above and the image above shows where the chain is located. He’s the same as Napa, but you can knock him down with the nearby boulders. This disables the ground traps in the next room.
Return to the steel gate, drop a boulder down, and enter the next room carefully. Here there will be traps on the wall that breath fire on you. A chain up the stairs has to be pulled to turn off the unkillable traps, although the stairs and rangers next to it lead nowhere. You’ll need to destroy them to safely proceed. After their destruction, continue into the next room where a graveling hatcher will appear. You can just AoE it down to take care of it and the gravelings.
For the upcoming corridor, you can use the larger room to kite the enemies around in it, making it a bit easier to avoid damage. Before you reach the end of the corridor, you will have to face another Ascalonian Captain, this time without any boulders to knock him down. At this point your group should have a good understanding of what to do and it shouldn’t pose much of a challenge.
Ascalonian Lieutenant - Foefire's Heart
After the captain and a cutscene, you’ll arrive to the central chamber where the Ascalonian Lieutenant resides. This fight is the same fight as the captains before, except fifteen Ascalonian Ghosts will spawn at once. These are normal enemies with a normal amount of health, you can AoE the group of them down or you can have someone stand at the top of the stairs, shield themselves to stack all of the ghosts, then AoE them down. The Lieutenant himself is the same captain you’ve faced up to this point.
After another cutscene, you’ll be given three different enemies and you'll need to do them in order. The path to each is filled with more ghosts, but nothing your party shouldn’t be able to handle by this point. After each boss is defeated, a new waypoint will open, meaning you won’t have to travel all the back from the start anymore if you’re downed.
Ranger Master Nente - Hall of Murals
This one is a little bit interesting. Ranger Master Nente is a pretty big joke. He stands on top of a platform and you can have your ranged stand on the platform across from him and attack him without much issue. He’ll summon a pet (and continue summoning it if it’s slain) that is a nascence, and he’ll randomly decide to walk around a bit and chase after people with an axe.
The best strategy is just to nuke him down, keep him crippled, and dodge roll his arrow attacks to the best of your ability. He’s a rather easy boss.
Ralena and Vassar - The Lovers' Crypt
This fight is tough, because Relena and Vassar will become too powerful if they get too close to each other. Your goal is to use the boulders on the ground to knock them apart (they fly backwards from where the boulder is flung) and keep them on the ground. This is the hardest fight in the entire instance because it involves teamwork and cooperation, rather than dodge rolling and avoiding damage.
Some groups like to have everyone throwing boulders, since they do a fair amount of damage, and keep the two lovers permanently knocked down. Other groups like to assign two specific people to boulder duty while the other three players focus on either Relena or Vassar. Both ways work and it depends on your team’s composition and teamwork how you want to proceed.
Relena casts lightening and Vassar casts illusions. If you’re not permanently knocking them down, you may want to have someone focused on mopping up the illusions while the other two damage Relena or Vassar down.
The way you engage the fight can also help. Aggression works way differently in GW2, since there are no taunts. However, you can have two players get up into each of their separate faces and then drag them apart. Then, when they’re split, have two players each start knocking them apart with boulders. The biggest danger is if they stack, because then the boulders will knock both of them around (since they have an AoE component). They also, the first time, spawn non-aggro and you can get in posistion to throw them apart.
You can also stack them and have everyone throw boulders on the stack. You can also waypoint zerg the event, keeping people waypointing in keeping the event going while trying to get the knockdown rhythm in place.
You can skip some ghosts by using a boulder to open the path to Kasha.
Kasha Blackblood - Votive Cathedral
This one, for me at least, was super easy. You’ll want to fight her in the center ring area and focus on killing her minions before she recovers health from them. Otherwise this fight is extremely simple. She sets the top part on fire, so don't stand up there, and has an event where she'll spawn minions that you'll have to kill to fight her again.
King Adelbern - Foefire's Heart
It’s time to face the endboss. Again, another very simple fight. Return to the central area and run up the stairs to prepare to fight the king.
He has two abilities of note. The first is he can summon you to him and the second is he can summon the foefire. Here is the important thing to understand – the foefire can kill you quickly. If he pulls you to him, dodge roll away. Be on the lookout for the foefire on the ground too. The blue flames hurt really badly. That, my friends, is the fight. Avoid the foefire. The rest of it is just killing him and he generally likes standing in the center, so your goal is just stay alive.
If you die, there are three respawn points really close nearby. So this fight shouldn’t even pose a challenge, especially after Vassar and Relena.
After the king’s death, you can collect your loot and a hat, the Ascalonian Helm, Ascalonian Leather Hat, or the Ascalonian Clergy Cowl.
At level thirty five you can return once again for explorable mode and earn tokens to get the full dungeon set.
That’s our guide to the Ascalonian Catacombs. What are your thoughts on this dungeon? Let us know in the comments section below.