30 Days In The Secret World: Dungeon Diving in the Polaris — The MMO Gamer

30 Days In The Secret World: Dungeon Diving in the Polaris


No matter how much fun your questing content is, there are those who play MMO’s that will judge your game solely on the quality of other features, and for many MMO gamers, a group dungeon is going to make or break a game for them.

This week, my main goal in The Secret World was to get into the first available group dungeon, the Polaris. A derilict cargo ship corrupted by the dark forces which now contaminate Solomon Island, the Polaris washed up on shore, and brought with it horrifying creatures hellbent on the destruction of our world. It is our job to investigate the vessel, and put an end to the darkness.

Funcom has recently said that they have plans for a group finder tool in the future, but for now we find groups the old fashioned way, and that’s by hitting up the chat. At just over a week since launch, finding a group of peeps to run with was fairly easy, and within just a few minutes we had put together a fully fleshed-out group that included a tank who was a mix of hammer and fist weapons, a blood magic healer, a chaos and blood dps/support-heal hybrid, and two rockin’ dps. One of the dps was using assault rifles, while I’m rolling an elementalist with a splash of blood, and having an absolute blast with it by the way.

After our group was formed, I clicked on the helicopter with the bright yellow ‘click me dummy’ outline, and was instantly transported to the beginning of the instance. Before now I had only seen a few bits and pieces of videos showing some of the fights in the dungeon, so I was going in blind for the most part. The tank pulled the first trash mob and took very little damage while it fell pretty quickly. That’s always a good sign. If your group struggles taking down the first trash mob of an instance, you may be in for a long day.

We marched over the corpses of the fallen draug creatures, and entered a small cave, where I was given a warning via radio that the water was electrified and dangerous. Cool. Being careful to stay out of the deadly waters, I concentrated on killing the next pull. 30 seconds later I came to realize we were fighting the first boss! Wait, a boss? Already? This can’t be right.

Oh but it is. This is another thing that The Secret World gets right, very few trash mobs. And by very few, I do mean VERY few. Maybe one or two small pulls between bosses, and then boom, on to the next boss encounter. And these boss encounters are in spectacular locations and consist of simple yet fun mechanics, as you would expect from a game’s very first group instance. The ability to dodge and roll really shines in these dungeons, and makes ‘moving out of the fire’ more interesting than simply strafing to the side. Oh, and speaking of running around, you’ll be doing plenty of that too, but you can cast your spells and abilities while doing it. That is probably my favorite part of The Secret World right now. Not having to be a turret of destruction. Being able to dodge and move while still putting out heavy damage brings out the best in the combat which can seem a bit lack-luster when soloing. As a first group dungeon, the Polaris does a great job of letting you figure out fight mechanics, as well as solidify your rotation, before it picks up the pace. It then does a nice job of making things feel hectic, without overwhelming new players.

The first boss fight was pretty simple, stay out of the electrified water, move out of the aoe, kill the boss. After a couple of minutes we burned him down and moved on.

Moving into the next area, I began to really notice the detail work that went into the enviroment I was running around in. Funcom has done a great job on setting the stage for its stories throughout the entire game, and this instance was no exception. The rickety wooden stairs we ascended looked old and warped by moisture, while the rocks felt damp and mossy, and all the while the fog that has rolled in over the entire island was constantly present, bringing an overall feel of dread to the entire thing.

We made our way closer to the Polaris itself, and into a maze of cargo containers that had fallen from the ship when it turned onto its side on the beach. A pretty cool and unique setting for the next boss fight. Another pretty simple fight of staying out of the bad areas, but having to do so in a more confined space. By this time those of us who needed to had worked out our rotations, and the group was functioning as a well-oiled machine of destruction. We took out the Blarbane Sorceress, and readied ourselves for the first big-baddie of the day.

The Varangian fight takes place in two different areas, the first of which has you waist deep in water. You have to tank and spank the boss while avoiding attacks until he goes under water, at which time you have to switch to the adds that run in. This cycle continues until you get to the second phase, at which point the boss runs into a completely different room. At this point you have to jump up onto the cargo containers in order to stay out of more freakin’ electrified water! From there you just keep avoiding aoe’s, and tank and spank your way to victory. With the use of two areas, each of which providing a different feel and experience, The Varangian fight is a super fun encounter that does a great job keeping you on your toes throughout the fight.

After a couple more trash pulls and one more tank n’ spank boss, we found ourselves standing at the edge of the encounter for the Primordial Dweller. This is the fight we’ve been seeing highlights of for quite some time now. The giant Cthulu looking demon rises from the depths, determined to end us all. During the course of this fight I began to realize just how much fun the dodging abiltiy could be, as well as how awesome it is to be able to cast while running. The Primordial Dweller fight was pretty intense, with tons of aoe to run and dodge out of, and plenty of adds running into the group which needed to be burned down ASAP. All the while the boss was up front having to be tanked and damaged as much as possible. This guy didn’t hide under the water when his adds came, he was present and doing his best to destroy us every second of the fight. When the fight ended, I felt very satisfied in what our group had accomplished, and was ready to hop on board the helicopter back to town, see the cinematic that had been teased by Funcom, and call it a day.

Little did I know that the cool little cinematic of the creature attacking the helicopter lead into the actual final boss fight of the Polaris instance, and boy was it a doozy. The helicopter came down in the lair of the Ur-Draug, a humongous creature also looking like something straight out of the world of Cthulu. We were knee deep in water, staring at a giant creature which stood between huge pillars of stone. Those pillars of stone would come in very handy. As the boss fight began, we positioned ourselves so that we could readily move out of the creature’s line of sight behind those pillars, because this boss has an awesome ability that alters reality. The world then visually changes, and you need to stay behind those pillars because if Ur-Draug sees you he will snare you and most likely insta-kill you. There was a very ominous feel as we ran behind the pillars in this darkened alternate reality, watching the huge Ur-Draug stalk us, praying that a creature that big wouldn’t be able to sneak up on you. Adds spawn at this point, and you have to take them out, all the while watching for the Ur-Draug to emerge from the fog, and keeping out of his line of sight. Once again, the mechanics were pretty straight forward, and did not overwhelm the players with too much activity, but the presentation of the fight, with the huge monster, altered reality, and raging adds, really finished putting the icing on the cake that was the Polaris instance.

As the very first instance in the game, I have absolutely nothing to complain about with the Polaris dungeon. I enjoyed every minute of it, and so did my entire group. We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we immediately ran it again! I hope going forward that the rest of the dungeons are as good as this one, because the Polaris is now my second favorite first-time through dungeon ever, behind the Iron Tomb in Rift. If you haven’t yet experienced the Polaris in The Secret World, I highly recommend you gather up a group of folks and give it a go. You won’t regret it.

If you want to watch the back-to-back Polaris runs from the stream you can check it out by clicking here. The actual dungeon run begins at the 11 minute mark.


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