[Guide] A Guide to Pugging T4 Fractals

The top tier of fractals occupies a unique position in terms of Guild Wars PvE content. It falls under the top tier of raids which often require very specific builds, voice communication, and lots of coordination. However, it is well above a lot of general PvE content where anything goes and you can autoattack your way through anything with a big enough mob. This guide is meant to be a bit of a primer and review for those who not just play the top tier, but often find themselves in random groups of random people with random team compositions. First off, a few things to do before you head in.

Play a serious build.

While few people will ask that you play an exact meta build with a perfect rotation and near optimal DPS, we do ask that you play something that is at least respectable for the content. There is a time and a place for build experimentation at that is not in fractals. There is nothing more concerning than seeing someone use a skill or weapon that you rarely see, and trying to figure out what they are going for.

Understand the fractal.

When working your way to T4, don’t just grind Molten Duo over and over to blitz your way through. Understand the mechanics and how groups manage them for each of the fractals. Understand the bosses, their attacks, and what to watch out for. This is especially important when you get into the Mists Convergence Instability and you have mechanics from other fractals pop in that you need to deal with.

Meet the AR requirement.

This one usually goes without saying, but for newer players may apply. Only Mai Trin requires a perfect 150 AR so many of the other fractals are doable while you are working your way to that point. However, make sure to talk with your team as some players prefer the higher level fractals for the different instabilities than the lower levels, and they will need to know that you need the lower version.

If possible, have multiple classes available.

On that point about random team compositions, for more veteran players, it is always encouraged to have multiple classes that you can play if possible. I generally main a Druid where my team support is always a welcome addition to the team. However, if there is another Druid in the party, I will typically swap out to one of my other classes based on what we will be doing. Having that flexibility for the team is a great boon to balancing out that composition and giving the team a better chance to succeed.

Remember, this is a pug.

This is the most frustrating part as it is completely out of your control. Sometimes, you are paired with great players that fly through the content without a problem. Other times, it is a slog through even the easiest of fractals. Obviously, the first thing you want to try is to help the players that are struggling. If a few tips can help them get better, they will hopefully continue to perform better in the future which helps the entire community. However, sometimes you end up in a team that just isn’t going to get things done. If that happens, leave but be respectful of it, don’t rage at the team because that is just going to cause more frustration. Take a break, and determine if you want to try again, or just skip that one for the day. Also, keep a mental note of how often this happens, if it happens a lot, the problem may not be the team, but may be on your end.

Next, I will look at the individual fractals, the difficulty for a pugger, what to watch out for, and any special considerations. For this, I’m considering the group to be an average group with low coordination, random classes (you can’t rely on a certain class to be around for something specific), and low communication. I’ve split the 15 fractals up into three groups of five between easy, medium, and hard difficulty. Easy fractals should be relatively simple to get through, and will only be failed if the team is really bad. Medium levels can be difficult for poor teams, but most good teams should breeze right through. Hard are some of the most difficult fractals and will need a fairly good group to pass on your first attempt.

Aetherblade – Medium

What to watch out for: Electric walls

What to bring: Unblockable attacks, swiftness

Generally, Aetherblade isn’t too bad up until the final boss. It is more of an annoyance to get through the mines, electric floor, rotating walls, and mobs than anything else. The golems can provide some difficulty as it is easy to get caught out of position when managing the electric walls and trying to damage the golems. Getting downed is pretty much a death in this one as there is very little time for a teammate to come over and revive you before the walls make another pass.

 

Aquatic Ruins – Easy

What to watch out for: Baby Jellyfish

What to bring: AoE, whatever you can underwater

The most annoying part here is getting through the dolphin section. Make sure to stay together and try to semi coordinate your decoys and res skills if at all possible. The only threat for the boss is if he can spawn a large number of adds. Having a lot of AoE to burn those down as quick as possible go a long way to ensuring a smooth run.

 

Captain Mai Trin – Hard

What to watch out for: Cannons, Adds

What to bring: Protection, team support

The biggest challenge here is staying alive through the cannon barrages at every 25%. This is where a class with any kind of ranged heal ability can help out by trying to support the teammate from afar. Also, I highly recommend not getting the Mistlock until the final 25%. If you die in one of the early barrages, it isn’t too difficult for the remaining team members to kite Mai Trin away while one member gets any downed players up. It becomes much more difficult though when the three elite adds spawn in during the final phase. If you survive any barrage, make sure it is the one before the adds. As an added note, at the beginning of each phase, be ready to stack up on Mai to ensure that an electric shot hits and starts to remove her shield. As such, you need to be ready with team support and to hold back any damage until she is vulnerable again. Blockers, similar to what you would use for Old Tom will block his fire shots as well, so any turrets, spirits, or anything else that can take damage should be setup around Horrick.

 

Chaos Isles – Hard

What to watch out for: Spin-to-win, Harpy Golems

What to bring: Hard CC, downed rescue skills

The pain here is the final boss, as pugs generally don’t have the coordination to get the break bar in time. This ends with some people staying in range trying to get the break, and others fleeing doing nothing. If you can coordinate the break bar, it is definitely the way to go. If you can’t, do whatever you can to get out of range, and have skills ready to pulled down people out if they get sucked in. It is hard to revive from death here with the rotating damage on the floor.

 

Cliffside – Medium

What to watch out for: Holes in the scaffolding, boss AoE

What to bring: AoE, swiftness

Generally not too bad on the way up as long as the group can nuke down the mobs of cultists. The boss redo has definitely made it more interesting and interactive. Your main concern is staying out of his large AoE skills. Being able to break him will help but is definitely not required.

 

Molten Boss – Easy

What to watch out for: AoE, shockwaves

What to bring: Single target damage, reflects

This one is a fairly simple exercise of nuke the boss three times over. Reflects will help a lot as the large fire AoE pools can really start to fill up the arena making the ability to find a safe spot difficult. If someone goes down in a spot that you can save them, try to get them back up. If they are in an inferno, keep pushing the boss down as they will autorevive when the first one falls.

 

Molten Furnace – Easy

What to watch out for: Fire Elementals, adds

What to bring: Reflects, knockbacks

Probably the easiest fractal now that the swamp has been changed, this one is often flown through. Nuke the adds in each section of the tunnel, and have a few reflects and definitely a knockback for the Protector at the final boss.

 

Snowblind – Medium

What to watch out for: Adds, ice stun

What to bring: Swiftness, dodges

In the area with the ice elemental, make sure that you are on the same page with your party. Some parties will try to burn the elemental as quickly as they can and do their best to ignore adds. Others take it a little safer and will knock out the adds that are pestering them before moving back to the boss. For the boss, there is a lot of AoE that you will need to stay out of. Take special care when he teleports up to the ledge and summons the Effigy as you will have to deal with the ice spikes raining down, as well as the freeze AoE that the Effigy summons.

 

Solid Ocean – Easy

What to watch out for: Tentacles, Maw beam attack

What to bring: Non-projectile damage, ranged damage

Generally players just run to the boss skipping everything in between. If you do get there, don’t go into combat immediately that way anyone that was downed can revive and finish the run. Once the fight begins, remember not to use projectiles on the jade elementals. If you get targeted with the beam and don’t have a crystal nearby, a dodge right when the indicator goes away will usually save you from the getting downed.

 

Swampland – Hard

What to watch out for: Stomp and pound, ground slam

What to bring: Swiftness, stun break

Amazing how this has gone from the easiest to one of the hardest. The boss fight is a challenge in managing multiple things at once with the boss, the champion add that spawns, the poison fields, and wisp location. If you get jumped on, make sure you always have a stun break to get out or you are toast. When he is doing the ground pound, the second phase opens up an area on top of him for melee classes to get in and deal a lot of damage while immobile. Also, make sure that at least four people are up when he is phased to 25%, otherwise, you will run out of time on the wisps and wipe.

 

Thaumanova Reactor – Hard

What to watch out for: The floor, oozes

What to bring: Swiftness, ranged damage

Thaumanova is terrible for having multiple areas that can punish a group. Subject 6 is painful, especially if people don’t realize to stop attacking when he goes into the shield phase. Also, generally assume that it will fall on you to take care of the oozes as many people try to burn the boss down and can’t make it before he heals. While the final boss is easier with the new floor, it can still be difficult especially when all five are alive. Floor can run out quickly, so when you have to, stay to the outside. There are a lot more tiles to deal with around the edges than right on top of the boss.

 

Uncatagorized – Easy

What to watch out for: Rabbits, Harpies

What to bring: Blockers, CC

The worst part of this fractal is just dealing with the harpies in the two jumping sections. The first group of bosses is rarely painful as long as you follow the rabbit, bandit, flame legion, ettin strategy for focusing them down one by one. The poison bolts from Old Tom can be blocked with just about anything, so minions, turrets, spirits, elementals, pets, and whatever else are always welcome. For the final boss, anything that can be done to group the golems up will help AoE them down during the final phase. With enough damage, they will melt.

 

Underground Facility – Hard

What to watch out for: Boss AoE, mobs of adds

What to bring: Hard CC, ranged damage

Can definitely be a pain, especially depending on the comp that you end up with. The first part is made easier if you have someone that can stealth at the final channel to open the door. If not, the two people not on buttons or the door will have to work to keep everyone up and the opener safe. When you get to the final boss, generally the person with the weakest ranged damage will want to be on lever duty. However with the new fixation mechanic, communication needs to be in place when a swap needs to happen. Try to break the boss under the bucket to make sure it gets weakened, and you can get in for some melee damage before you head to the next bucket.

 

Urban Battleground – Medium

What to watch out for: Siege, mobs of adds

What to bring: AoE, swiftness

Always be careful of the over aggro when going from the starting point to the gate. If you get too many adds on you, the combination of siege, adds, and might from the monks can easily lead to a wipe. If you can get free to the door, you should be good to go for most of the rest of the fractal. For the boss, stay out of his meteor showers, and be ready to revive people when he brings his fiery greatsword. His spin-to-win is quick, difficult to dodge, and can put on a lot of damage if you get caught by it.

 

Volcanic – Medium

What to watch out for: Slugs, Grawl mobs

What to bring: AoE, rapid attacking skills

The only really tough part here is the final boss. You may want some movement impairing skills for slowing down Grawl trying to kick off the prisoners, but they generally aren’t too difficult to burn down. When you get to the final boss, you need to be ready for the phase mechanic at every 25%. First job is to blow up the boss’s shield with rapid attacking skills. Something like an Engineer flamethrower with many small packets of damage are great for this. Then bust out all of your AoE to wipe the slugs. Try to tag as many of them as you can as if you are downed, it gives you a good chance to rally off one that died.

 

 

That’s all I have at this point. Please let me know any comments and feedback you have towards making this better. I hope this helps the fractal community gets better, as that means more successful runs for me, and anyone else that is involved.