Domain of Anguish Lives Up to Its Name

The Domain of Anguish has been accessible to select adventurers for nearly a week now, and most who have paid the forsaken locale a visit can attest to the sheer ferocity and destructive powers of the Domain's protectors. While a rare few have indeed fought their way to the inner regions of the Domain of Anguish, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from a few tips to help in their struggle. I have spoken with my most trusted and wisest confidants, and their information should prove helpful to anyone caught up in this epic struggle. This week, I will reveal some overall strategies my informants believe will be useful throughout the Domain of Anguish. Then, in following dispatches, I shall provide more focused tips for specific locations within the Domain. Many of these tips should also prove useful elsewhere, but within the Domain of Anguish they are literally essential to survival.

As most veterans know, any victorious venture into a foreboding locale requires precise planning. Be sure your party of fearless adventurers is well balanced, or your journey will end faster than it began. Strategies utilizing quick, overwhelming damage—or "spike damage" as it is often referred to—seem much more effective than strategies that accumulate damage over a longer period time. If you plan to use this spike strategy, you must coordinate with your party members so everyone attacks the same foe. On that note, it is also important to distinguish whether the leader's selected target is indeed the most important assailant to slay. Given my chosen profession, it pains me to say that in the Domain of Anguish the old battle adage advising "kill the Monk first" is even more essential than in other areas.

You may also need to think about stealth during your excursion into the Domain of Anguish. Reports suggest that many patrols wander the Domain, grouped into individual parties much like your own. Most of these groups are generally well balanced between offense and defense and, as I noted above, it is essential to attack their members in the proper order. These groups often pack together—perhaps as ordered by their master—so hiding out of sight from these foes until they move apart is essential to your success. Picking off lone groups of enemies away from their reinforcements will allow you to defeat the forces of evil one group at a time, rather than facing an entire army at once.

Next, my informants warned against the use of area of effect attacks—those skills and spells that injure but do not kill large groups of adversaries in a location. It seems these area attacks are, for the most part, more hazardous to your party than useful. The enemies within the Domain of Anguish become enraged when significantly injured, greatly increasing their strength and ferocity. It is much more effective to use the spike damage strategy outlined above, as it will all but ensure you will have to deal with only one enraged beast at a time. That is not to suggest the other beasts will be tame, of course. But by concentrating your firepower, you can eliminate one enraged foe at a time, so your party will actually take less damage in the long run.

The last tip given to me by my esteemed advisors is this: Do not feel obligated to fight to the last man! If your party is in certain peril, it is both honorable and sane to withdraw from combat to regroup and reorganize. Don't look at it as fleeing, but rather, as a tactical withdrawal. In some cases, you may find your strategy was not very effective, which may compel you to rethink it altogether. Pay attention to the skills and spells your foes use, and use this knowledge to your advantage.

A wise man once said that knowing is half the battle, so you may even want to view your first few forays into the Domain of Anguish as reconnaissance missions, and use that information for later, deeper insertions. Of course, the sharing of knowledge is an old and venerated tradition as well, so you may want to share what you learn with others who have entered this dreaded location, and perhaps even gain some insight from them as well. We are all in this struggle together, so be sure to communicate what you have seen work well, and even what you have seen fail miserably within this aptly-named realm.

Next week, I shall follow up with specific strategies for the Foundry of Failed Creations and the Stygian Veil. Be sure to watch for next week's missive for valuable information on how to survive in these forsaken lands.

Firing Up the Competition: Double Rewards in Guild Battles

For the final week of the Winterfest Tournament, before the playoffs begin, the Priests of Balthazar have temporarily increased the reward for Guild Battles! Since many guilds were already planning on using this last weekend to make a final thrust to gain a position in the playoffs, this is quite a treat for a large number of combatants.

The Priests have not only doubled the amount of faction gained by victory in Guild Battles, they have also increased all other faction rewards given during these conflicts. This includes double faction for each kill and, for those who have truly mastered the art of combat, double the bonus reward given for flawless victories. Those who are in need of Balthazar's faction will make quite a killing during this weekend—in more ways than one!

However, faction is not the only reward increased for this weekend. Those who are currently attempting to gain the much desired "Champion" title will be pleased to know that they, too, will benefit from a double reward weekend.

With this being the final weekend before the playoffs—and now with the announcement of this special event—I think it is safe to say the Battle Isles will be quite the place to be!

Random Acts of Kindness

Once again, I would like to share the names of a few notable citizens encountered during my travels. They proved to be both kind and generous to their fellow citizens, and surely deserve to be called out.

In the dark and brooding shadows of the Gate of Torment, both Drake Iron Heart and Elena Konno aided newcomers to that forsaken outpost by directing them to the Xunlai Agent. Their kindness toward those in need shone out even more brightly amongst the evil and corruption of that dour region.

While I was aiding the Sunspears in Yohlon Haven, Mala Nightshade was kind enough to explain the Lightbringer title to a confused Ranger. The Ranger promptly set out for the Chantry of Secrets, to see for herself what all the fuss was about. I also made a quick stop in the Kodash Bazaar where Pariah Hellfire gave away at least a dozen items to anyone who needed them.

Finally, I was fortunate enough to return to my home in the Shing Jea Monastery for a few days, and within that time I was once again amazed at the good will within the sacred walls. A particularly sharp looking Assassin known only as Prepare To Dance was aiding a newcomer to the Monastery on his first few tasks. Perhaps inspired by the helpful Assassin's name, Mythology Summoner took the time to teach a newly-arrived student how to dance! Before I even finished recording that kind Ritualist's good deed in my scroll, Shadow Dragon V I I gave gold to a student wishing to purchase a storage account from the local Xunlai Agent.

Thank you all for your acts of good will in this dark time.