A Guide to Tangled Depths (Guild Wars 2 : Heart of Thorns)
Welcome to my third companion guide to the Heart of Thorns zones, written for you in a conversational manner to compliment one of the many excellent technical guides out there. I often feel like the technical guides can be quite overwhelming when there’s so much to do in a zone and so these companion guides are here to help you get the most out of your time.
The most common trouble I see players having with Tangled Depths is that this zone really lives up to its name.
The main thing to know is that Tangled Depths is a bit like a cluster of villages that share a common hub known as the Ley-Line Confluence. From there you can get anywhere. The “villages” as I put it are Outposts in the style of those in Verdant Brink, each with its own set of local events that builds it up in preparation for a big boss battle called King of the Jungle (the chak gerent).
Now, the most important mastery to help you get around here in Tangled Depths is Nuhoch Wallows (the second mastery in Nuhoch Lore), which you will be using constantly on the shortcuts throughout the map.
Next come the five “main roads”. These are the four Outpost Lanes plus the Eastern Confluence Tunnel that fan out from the Ley-Line Confluence. These lanes are the most important major roads for you to explore and they tend to be quite pretty. They are called Ogre Lane, Nuhoch Lane, Rata Novus Lane and SCAR Lane. You will be seeing a lot more of them during the meta boss battle.
Between the Nuhoch Wallows and the main roads you can get to all the major locations then. Easy! Next, I have to mention the mass of spaghetti-like twisty-turny stuff that link the villages as well. It’s best to explore that stuff after you know the main roads. Here you will find many secrets, monsters, hidden treasures and challenges to overcome. I advise exploring small chunks of it at a time, at your own pace. If it gets too much and you want to do some regular events, go back to the outposts and see what’s up.
One of the most useful side areas to explore is the system of underwater passages that link some key places you’ll want to visit, though you’ll need a few more extra masteries to stay safe down there. You’ll need Exalted Markings (the first Exalted mastery) to use the exalted beacons that scare away flesh-eating fish in the dark waters, and you’ll also need Itzel Poison Lore (the forth Itzel mastery) to safely visit places like the Chak Stronghold and Subterranean Lake.
Let’s Begin With The Order of Whispers
The Order of Whispers Camp is the first location you discover in Tangled Depths. These guys are running the show for the Pact, operating deep in hostile territory to punch a route into Dragon’s Stand and confront the elder dragon Mordremoth. The most important service available here is the Nuhoch Vendor, who is always here to trade your ley line crystals with for the exclusive zone rewards. There’s also a norn member of the Vigil showing off chak weapons, and you can watch him cycle through his complete stock of them.
A Guided Tour to Every Waypoint
So the first challenge to Tangled Depths is unlocking the waypoints at each of the outposts. Once you’ve done that then you can participate a lot more effectively, both at the local outpost events and then later during the chak gerent meta boss. There’s also a final waypoint at the zone border with Dragon’s Stand.
Getting to Teku Nuhoch Waypoint
The first place you’re likely to want to get to is the toad village. The nuhoch (giant toad people) have a chain of events going in at their area to raise battle beetles and to teach players about mushroom spores, which is their mechanic at the chak gerent battle… more on that later. While it’s possible to go to Teku Nuhoch from the Order of Whispers Camp by foot, that would involve getting lost in the caverns to the east. Let’s instead take a shortcut (and maybe kill a Treasure Mushroom on the way), so look slightly south on the map for a Nuhoch Wallow to “Undergrowth Connector”. You’ll need to run past a few mordrem on the way but you can lose them at the wallow.
The wallow takes you to a place called the Grub Pit, which is where the nuhoch raise baby beetles. If you go up the eastern path (there may be chak to run past) then you’ll get to another wallow to Teku Nuhoch, where you will find Teku Nuhoch Waypoint.
Teku Nuhoch Waypoint is one of the most important to collect as this place is a hub of Nuhoch Wallows that take you to other places around the map, as well as having tunnels that go up to Teku Nohoch itself and down to the Subterranean Lake, the Decayed Chak Hive and Rata Novus (though the route to those last two might be story locked for you).
Getting to the Rata Novus and Ley-Line Confluence Waypoints
Once you have Teku Nuhoch Waypoint, the easiest way to Rata Novus from there is to take the Nuhoch Wallow to “Confluence Passage”. From there you’ll see a passage running down to the north-east into Rata Novus Lane. If you look carefully at the minimap you can even see another nuhoch wallow just to the east that takes you straight to Rata Novus, but it’s not too much bother just to follow the path east into the Rata Novus area either. If the city defenses are hostile I’d suggest you take the nuhoch wallow instead – lasers hurt.
Once you’re in the Rata Novus area you should collect the Rata Novus Waypoint. With that done, you now have an easy if unreliable access point to the underwater tunnels. The downside to this waypoint like I mentioned is that it’s occasionally contested, meaning that there are local events that need doing to make the area safe. To access the underwater tunnels, dive into the water by the waypoint and look for an Exalted Beacon. Remember to take a crystal from the beacon if you plan on exploring any dark waters to keep the fish away, and it also provides a skill to revive allies should you need it. For now though, let’s concentrate on getting to the Ley-Line Confluence.
Back in Rata Novus Lane, you can head straight south to the Ley-Line Confluence and collect the Ley-Line Confluence Waypoint.
Getting to the Ogre Camp and SCAR Camp Waypoints
Once you have the Ley-Line Confluence Waypoint, the waypoints for the last two outposts are easy to collect. The Ley-Line Confluence is where all the main roads in Tangled Depths connect up, so to get to SCAR Camp you only need to follow the main route east along Eastern Confluence Tunnel (if you go up SCAR Lane by mistake you can take a nuhoch wallow into the camp). Just look carefully at your minimap and you’ll find the wallows and the waypoint easily enough.
To get to the Ogre Camp, head west from Ley-Line Confluence Waypoint along Ogre Lane and look for the Nuhoch Wallow to “Ogre Village”. Be sure to collect Ogre Camp Waypoint once you’re there. The ogre camp is the safest “outpost” to stay at, with a merchant, gathering nodes and crystallized supply caches (zone treasure chests) being common as well.
Getting to Dragon’s Passage Waypoint
This is the last waypoint in the zone to mention and it lies at the border to Dragon’s Stand, the final zone in Heart of Thorns. It’s best to go after this waypoint after getting the waypoint at the ogre camp because it’s quite a perilous run, especially if you meet a veteran mordrem flamerider along the way. Head into Ogre Lane and run west, following Dragon’s Passage and surviving the mordrem in your way. The waypoint itself is a safe spot so you can take a breather once you get there.
Keep Calm and Slay Chak Gerents
The biggest draw for monster hunters to Tangled Depths is the chak gerent, once of the most difficult public battles to be successfully completed on a regular basis by spontaneous organisation. This battle is also run by certain guilds, of which Attuned and TTS Gamers come to mind but perhaps there are others as well.
For a technical guide on the Chak Gerent battle, take a look at this one by TTS Gamers. They also have a Reddit thread for it. If you want to join their guild specifically to do that fight, I believe you can do that through their website. While I’m not affiliated with TTS myself, they’re the most stable and public world boss slaying guild that I know of and they deserve a special mention.
Every 2 hours the map will cycle through to a stage called King of the Jungle, announcing the imminent arrival of the meta boss. I remember the timer by “half-past the even hours”, but you can check your time zone by looking at the timer on the Guild Wars 2 Wiki. (Scroll down a bit on that page to see the timer bar.) If you want to participate in a chak gerent battle it’s a good idea to set aside 40 minutes or so, and turn up 15 minutes before the start of the battle to look for an active map using the LFG Tool (by default, the “Y” key). You can find maps under Open World, Tangled Depths and keep an eye out for ads for the chak gerent. Also pay attention to map chat to see if your current map is organising for the battle or not.
There are in fact four chak gerents for the map to fight simultaneously, one at each of the Outpost Lanes: Ogre, Nuhoch, Rata Novus and SCAR. Each lane has different mechanics to learn and so you get a different experience at each one. There’s also achievements associated with playing the battle at each lane, plus you’re bound to discover that different classes do better at different lanes. For example, the stability boon and/or distracting pets and minions are very useful at Nuhoch Lane to stomp the mushroom spores without being knocked away by the aggressive mushroom men.
Be aware that victory requires all four Lanes to kill their chak gerent and keep their ley-line cannon alive, which could also be destroyed by periodic swarms of smaller chak. It’s important therefore that every Lane has enough players and that they complete their lane mechanic each time it comes up, which can be up to three times before the gerent reaches the cannon and destroys it.
If you manage to kill the gerent and succeed completely, players will gather at the Ley-Line Confluence to witness the treasure room being blasted open by the ley-line cannons. After that, go get your loot! First, by the waypoint there’s a big black pedestal with a golden chak gerent on top to loot, and the rest of the loot is inside the cave that gets revealed. Of special note is the strongbox inside, which will give you a mastery point the first time you loot it. A nuhoch vendor appears inside the cave as well to sell all the minor runes you’re bound to salvage.
Outposts: Local Hubs of Activity
Besides the chak gerent meta boss then, the format of Tangled Depths is much like that of Verdant Brink and Auric Basin. Local event chains at each of the four outposts will progress that outpost to a “completed” stage, after which there will be repeatable events that fire off periodically for additional rewards. The names of these outposts are Ogre Camp, Teku Nuhoch, Rata Novus and the SCAR Camp. If you followed my guided tour earlier, that will give you the waypoint for each of the outposts and that’s the main thing to have if you want to participate.
If you want to know what’s currently going on at any outpost, talk to a scout. They are a special NPC with an icon over their head that looks like a tower with some stairs wrapping around the lower half, and this icon also appears on the minimap. They are very useful. Each scout is even fully voice acted so you won’t have to read anything!
Once you catch up with main event chain, you should find subsequent events naturally chain off each other and take you to the right place.
If you like, you can find a detailed guide to each outpost and the events that go on there on the Guild Wars 2 Wiki. All that I have to add is that it’s good enough just to turn up and join in with whatever’s going on without reading a guide, because that’s what I and probably most other players do anyway. Also, those scouts are really handy and you should talk to them. If you’re wondering about the scout at the SCAR Camp, he’s hiding in that box… even after the camp is safe. Possibly a box cat.
Don’t forget that after the main outpost events are done, there are bonus events and lots of treasure lying around. Also, Adventures if you feel like playing them.
There are well over a dozen treasure chests lost in Tangled Depths on top of the assortment of strongboxes (which are worth a mastery point each). Some players have chest runs that they do, chaining some of the easy chests together with gathering nodes and crystallized chak caches into a routine loot run. It’s easy enough to Google for, such as this example route from YouTube.
It’s fun to watch these videos just to discover routes to places I didn’t know about. This particular video only covers a small fraction of the chests out there but it gives you a small idea how much exploration you can get up to in Tangled Depths. There is a lot more to discover however, easily enough for a guide in itself.
Secret Places! Hidden Achievements!
As I hinted, there are enough secrets in Tangled Depths to fill another guide on just that. Some of the Insights and Strongboxes that are worth mastery points are hidden away in fiendish places, but here I just want to cover a couple of my favourite secret spots without giving them all away: Zinn’s Disco (which grants the Disco Dancing Delver achievement) and the Secret Earth Elemental (which grants the Elusive Elemental Eliminator achievement, plus a bunch of other stuff).
Secret Earth Elemental
The “Secret Earth Elemental” is the guardian of the Strongbox from “Whitebear’s Pride II”, which is worth a Maguuma Mastery point on its first opening. As well the contents of the strongbox, the boss event gives some special drops (like the Living Crystal) and also reveals orichalcum and mithril nodes to harvest. Be warned that there’s a decent fight to be had and some nasty chak and vampires to dodge on the way up.
So, to get to Secret Earth Elemental you want to start at Teku Nuhoch Waypoint and take the Nuhoch Wallow to Confluence Passage. From there head south and hug the tunnel left, wrapping around and up to a Veteran Chak Lobber. Past that mob but before you get to the Veterna Chak Blitzer, you can scale the cliff there up to a ledge with a Veteran Vampire Beast Bloodsucker on it. From here you have access to the updrafts that take you up to the earth elemental. You’ll have to run right past the vampire to hit the first updraft, but after that you can find your way up to a ledge guarded by three veteran earth elementals. Defeating those guys opens up a new room with the boss. Good luck!
Getting to Zinn’s disco cave involves a great deal of swimming and jumping but it’s completely without major combat. There might be the occasional jellyfish to murder but that’s about it. To start on this one, start at Rata Novus Waypoint and dive into the water into the subterranean tunnel system. You’ll need to swim a long way through the tunnels heading west, until eventually you reach a T-junction that is a little south of a point of interest on the map called “Arboreal Overlook”. (There are alternative, shorter routes from the Chak Stronghold and Dragon’s Passage, but both of these are quite dangerous. Attempt at your own risk.)
Once at that underwater T-juntion I mentioned, you want to swim up into a crystal cavern. This is the beginning of a 2-stage jumping puzzle. Climb out of the water and make your way across the crystals to the far side of the cavern. You’ll find that you can glide from crystal outcrop to crystal outcrop, and if you fall you’ll just land in the water. Once you’ve made it all the way across the crystals you’ll be in an area beneath the Ogre Camp on the map. There will be a vertical passage criss-crossed with tree roots that you can climb up, and this is the second stage of the jumping puzzle. Jump and glide your way up the roots until you get to the sentry L.O.X. waiting for you at the top.
Now, I’d advise standing to the side of the L.O.X. when you talk to it, not with your back to the shaft you just climbed up. That could get ugly depending what you say to the L.O.X… So anyway, this is the part where you have to bluff your way into the disco past the golem bouncer. Assuming you get in, step onto the dance floor and type “/dance” to bring the place to life. You can repeat that to make the holograms reappear once they vanish. You’ll also get an achievement the first time you dance in the disco.
Now It’s Over To You
Tangled Depths certainly feels overwhelming compared to Verdant Brink to explore, but if you start with the main outposts you can take control of that feeling and explore the rest piecemeal. It certainly has the most secret areas of the Heart of Thorns maps and is full of areas of unexpected beauty. The monsters are pretty savage so you’ll probably want a balanced build to get around safely, especially in the deeper reaches of hostile territory.
The chak gerent is an amazing boss to kill and you’ll want to participate in each of the four lanes to get the most out of it. Overall this zone feels like the hardest one, and probably the one most in need of a guide… make that a host of guides. The sheer amount of content in this zone means you can explore and explore for a long time to come. Even writing this guide, I just found a few more new routes and access points to different areas I had no idea existed before today.
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That’s all, thanks for reading and have fun out there!