Now that I’ve seen GW2 evolve with some new features through Living World, it made me think how they could put some of the new ideas into the Zhaitan fight to make it better. The Story Journal really puts the icing on the cake for replayability as well.
The whole dungeon feels incredibly cinematic and gives off the proper vibe of “Well team, we’re heading to the Elder Dragon himself.”. The one thing I’d change that doesn’t relate to the actual current fight would be adding some kind of draconic battery or cannon onto The Humble or The Glory of Tyria. Everything remains unchanged all the way through to the fireworks battle. The idea for the battery would be for Zhaitan to knock it off during one of his flybys (such as when he destroys the front of The Glory of Tyria, it could have had the battery attached to it). Zhaitan will fall from his perch via fireworks display, and the pillar falls with him, and everyone celebrates success exactly like it is now.
One of the NPCs would then run up to Destiny’s Edge and exclaim that Zhaitan is trying to crawl towards the wrecked battery from earlier and consume its magic to regain strength. The Glory of Tyria would then descend to a survivable drop-down distance from the ground and you join Destiny’s Edge in putting a stop to this. From this point on, a meta event starts with a bar (specifically NOT a numerical timer) that slowly fills up over time (10 minutes long at most) which shows the distance between the battery and Zhaitan.
Waves of Risen will start heading towards the battery which you need to help Destiny’s Edge clear, after the bar reaches about 25% one of them would say something cliche like “We can’t keep focus on the minions, we have to stop Zhaitan”. Logan will use his over-powered Guardian skills to channel a huge Line of Warding separating the party of Heroes with Destiny’s Edge and the Risen.
After a short jog towards the battery, you’d come to 5 pressure switches that would need to be pressed together, upon doing so would open 5 passages each with their own unique flavor to them. One passage could be a lite Jumping Puzzle, another could be a straight path with a couple simple mobs, another could be an underwater path; pretty much 5 different roads that each encompass a simple version of different GW2 gameplay. The paths would be limited to 1 player each, such as giving each player guild wars 2 gold(named with what flavor the path is) while on the switches when they’re all pressed, and that buff would let you into the path. The goal is to get to the end of your path and channel a console, unlike in CoE explorable where it’s timed, but a simple UI event like “Consoles Charged: X/5”).
Blocking each console would be an weak Legendary mob “Head of Zhaitan”, which is just one of his severed little mouth-dragons trying to kill you. This entire section would be a fail-state like the Bomb Room in CoF path 2, where if the bar reaches the end, everyone dies and the event restarts from the beginning. After the 5 Consoles are triggered, a cutscene would pan out above the consoles and show that all 5 blocked consoles were connected to the battery, and the 5 of you overcharged it, shooting a massive beam of energy straight down through Zhaitan the long way. Then the dungeon ends here, with just the 5 of you separated at the ends the paths. No NPC would even come up to you, and all you see is Zhaitan in the near distance with a massive gaping hole all the way through him completely still.
I feel like this idea would give each player the weight of worth. It’s not something that you can get carried through, and it becomes a matter of personally not letting down your other party members (ya know, the HEROES) for failing. Much like the Marionette battle, even though the bosses were easy, it felt beyond satisfying breaking your tower and cheering on your lane-mates. Using the AoE buff concept from the Assault Knights and Marionette fight portals, it would solve the problem of limiting 1 player per path. Every player would have a unique experience through the end due to the different gameplay of the paths and fighting one of the five Zhaitan’s heads. Delivering the death blow as a 5-man party seems way more personal than helping the Pact shoot fireworks at him too, if the heads weren’t enough. This also wouldn’t add too long of a section (I’d estimate 8 minutes as an average clear time from the start of the meta event, with a 10 minute long bar-timer), or try to bite off more than they could chew making an epic Elder Dragon fight with weapons (because it’s probably going to be an HP sponge that way). With the introduction of the Story Journal, this opens up replayability by unlocking an achievement for doing each path at the end, which means more players will be running Arah Story, which means it will constantly be easier to get players for Victory or Death.