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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General Non-RPG » The Anthem Thread

Default The Anthem Thread

February 16th, 2019, 14:10
Instead of hogging the "Now Playing" thread, I thought I'd create one here.

Not sure if any of you are actually interested, but I'm available to answer questions about the game if you're curious.

I have more observations:

Matchmaking works very well indeed. It's set up by default without VOIP - so you don't have to hear or speak with anyone if you don't want to. There's no text chat - so you're completely spared the usual whiny spamming if something goes wrong.

Based on quite a few missions, so far, it feels more like playing with AI party members than the usual PUG affair.

There's a couple of reasons it works so well.

First of all, the vast majority of objectives are extremely obvious - meaning progess is fast and pleasant.

Secondly, in a brilliant stroke - the game will teleport a player back to the group if he/she gets side-tracked after 30 seconds. This alleviates a TON of the usual waiting around for morons that's so prevalent when playing with strangers.

Thirdly, they added another clever twist to the mix: loot is only revealed at the end of a mission, meaning you can't mess around in your inventory and there's no time wasted fiddling with a bunch of UI screens.

Finally, movement is extremely flexible - and you don't spend long getting to objectives. This is contrasted with other games in this genre, especially Warframe - where at least 50% of the mission was about getting to the objective and getting back.

Conclusively, if you're anti-social and you'd prefer to play this game alone - it's pretty close to that experience - apart from watching other people helping out.

With all that said, I've been able to solo everything I've tried so far. While it's clearly designed for coop play, it still scales according to the amount of players - as far as I can tell. So, at least for the main campaign and most of the freeplay stuff - you should be able to do just fine, though you might be facing a harder time without some of the support skills from friends.

As for character customization, here's a few details:

You get access to all four Javelins throughout the campaign - meaning you essentially have four classes to choose from, for your character.

Each Javelin gets the following:

2 Weapons
2 Primary Skills
1 Support Skill
1 Ultimate Skill
6 Components
4 Consumables

There are 10 primary skills, 2 support skills and a ton of components available for each Javelin.

Each skill is essentially a piece of "gear" that drops like any other kind of loot - and it can have up to 5 inscriptions on it - on top of the base effect AND a potential Masterwork/Legendary special effect.

So, every single thing you put on your Javelin has the potential to change something significant about how it plays.

The 6 components represent the "passive skill-tree" of the Javelin - and they're VERY significant - even for the common rarity. For instance, you have a basic component that increase all weapon damage by 25% - and another that increases electricity damage and resistance by 20% - as well as 20% faster cooldown on skills.

You can mix and match those components freely - which means it's possible to customize almost everything about your Javelin.

Also, unless you only want to play a single class - remember to multiply the above by four - as you can switch between Javelins at will once you get access to them.

This is in addition to all the ridiculously involved cosmetic stuff - which I'm not really into.

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February 16th, 2019, 18:59
Sounds pretty good. Do you like it more than Division and Destiny 2?

Seems like none of my friends want to play it, though. It's come at a bit of a bad time. Half my Aussie friends are playing APEX and the filthy casuals are playing Deep Rock Galactic. I actually bought DRG but I really regret it.

I don't think we'd be able to play together because the 350+ ping to EU would probably ruin the gameplay. Maybe not, though. It depends how the "netcode guy" set it up.

The thing about Monster Hunter is it doesn't care at all about anti-cheat so you never really notice the lag. Everything is calculated on your PC and then it plays catch-up in the background. Even your save file is stored locally. If the host disconnects then he will run on the spot and the monster will stand still but you can still see the other players moving around and if you attack the monster the damage numbers all come up without any delay. I'd assume the setup for Anthem is more like an MMO and id get a 350ms delay on the damage numbers appearing?
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February 16th, 2019, 19:29
I'd say Division is a sufficiently different game to make the comparison hard. I definitely like it way more than Destiny - and it's much closer to that one overall.

It's really a hybrid of Warframe and Destiny 2 - with a lot of inspiration from Diablo 3. I would say 50% Destiny 2, 30% Warframe and 20% Diablo 3.

I'm not sure what they're doing behind the scenes in terms of syncing - but my guess would be that the majority happens locally - and the server verifies and syncs it periodically. I'd expect some visible rubber-banding from US/AUS - and it would be a very bad fit for this type of game, as it's so visceral and fast.

In terms of how it feels, I'd say an appropriate comparison would be like going from DAoC or EQ to WoW in terms of responsiveness. Once you "get it" - it's like night and day when compared to Destiny 2 or Warframe.

While Destiny 2 is probably still slightly ahead in terms of the gunplay - Anthem is vastly superior in all other ways, including movement, powers, progression, visuals, and so on.

It doesn't offer anywhere near the arsenal of Warframe, though. Which isn't really a fair comparison, as Warframe launched with MUCH less content than Anthem - and has had 5-6 years of constant development.

So, in the end, the closest comparison is still Destiny 2 - and while it does plenty things differently - it's ultimately going to feel like an evolution of that paradigm more than anything else.

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February 16th, 2019, 20:57
I haven't bought the game yet, but I still have my month of Origin Access so was able to play a bit of the campaign. And I cannot say I like what I see so far. I've played very little, the prologue and the first mission but was very deflated. I'll have to see more.

But I hear from people that they very much overuse the same gameplay loops, like gathering anthem echos and returning them to a point, defending a checkpoint until something in the story triggers. I really hope they managed to diversify more.

As I said, I played very little, but am not very excited to return. I've also got a bad cold, so that might also be contributing to my bad disposition. So I'll have to see.

@Darth: how are you liking the story/campaign?
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February 16th, 2019, 21:21
Originally Posted by danutz_plusplus View Post
I haven't bought the game yet, but I still have my month of Origin Access so was able to play a bit of the campaign. And I cannot say I like what I see so far. I've played very little, the prologue and the first mission but was very deflated. I'll have to see more.

But I hear from people that they very much overuse the same gameplay loops, like gathering anthem echos and returning them to a point, defending a checkpoint until something in the story triggers. I really hope they managed to diversify more.

As I said, I played very little, but am not very excited to return. I've also got a bad cold, so that might also be contributing to my bad disposition. So I'll have to see.

@Darth: how are you liking the story/campaign?
I've had a nasty cold too, the last couple of days. Considering how much fun I've had despite that, it speaks volumes about how great the game is.

I quite like the story so far - but it's nothing amazing. I find the set pieces rather magnificent, though.

But, as I've mentioned before, I wouldn't get this game for the story.

With that said, there's a LOT of lore in this game. There's always what feels like endless NPC interaction, if you're into that sort of thing.

I'm surprised at how well written some of the dialogue is. I mean, it's not Witcher 3 or anything - but there's a lot of humor and cool characters for Bioware fans. It's more of a typical Bioware game in that way than I thought at first - only it's more in the background than in the foreground.

But, definitely, you really have to enjoy the core gameplay loops - or you might as well go play a pure shooter like the new Metro.

This is a game for powergamers who enjoy optimising and hunting shiny stuff.

I've played a lot of this type of game, and I'd say Anthem does a better job at mixing up objectives than most of them. It feels more varied than Destiny so far, but at its heart it's very much a traditional looter shooter in terms of content repetition.

I just did the first Stronghold and I was very, very impressed. Everything in the game looks positively superb - and, as I said, the core gameplay is just phenomenal.

I haven't had this much fun just kicking ass in a game for a very, very long time.

As I said, it feels like a modern day WoW in terms of how much slicker and more visceral it is compared to similar games.

But if you don't like looter shooters, this probably won't change your mind. It's still a game where you need to spend time hunting loot and perfecting your build.

But it's the least grindy looter shooter I've played yet. Well, except maybe Hellgate London - which had a similarly generous loot drop ratio.

You always feel like you're progressing after a mission - and there's a ton of customization.

Yeah, I dig it. In fact, I love it at this point.

I can't speak to longevity - but I know that when a game has its claws in me like this, there's something special there.

I have a great feeling about its future, too. Bioware aren't kidding around here - they really want it to succeed - and it's definitely not "just" a money maker.

Someone loved this one when creating it.

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February 17th, 2019, 00:55
Ok, time for the first major negative: The Tomb of Legionnaires quest.

That has to be one of the worst and most obnoxious quests I've ever experienced.

It's basically a gating quest that will take at least a couple of hours for the uninitiated - and while it might be there to introduce "freeplay" to people - it's obscenely annoying if you want to progress the main story.

I can't imagine them letting it stay that way.

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February 17th, 2019, 03:21
PC Gamer reports some… interesting cinematics: https://www.pcgamer.com/anthems-cuts…nd-horrifying/

Their review is still in progress.
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February 17th, 2019, 09:20
Can't say I've had any glitches in the cutscenes. In fact, the presentation is top-tier all-round, and the facial animations are among the best I've seen.

Same goes for the voice acting - and considering it's straight-up mainstream writing, it's better than most. Certainly more interesting than the factory-line story of Destiny.

Ironic, in a way - because it matters way less in this game than it did in Andromeda - and considering the hate that game received, it's amusing to hear "journalists" bitch about something on this quality level.

Still, maybe I've just been lucky.

That said, I've read the other WIP review from PC Gamer - and they seem none too bright. They seem to think the looting and shooting in a looter shooter is less important than the more irrelevant parts of it.

Which is fine, the genre is relatively limited if you don't enjoy what it actually is. These complaints can be traced all the way back to the original Diablo - which wasn't a "real RPG".

One might have hoped for more insight so many years later.

Oh well, such is the state of journalism these days.

At least the WIP review from Kotaku is genuinely positive - which, considering the lowest-of-the-low bar of journalism - is refreshing.

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February 17th, 2019, 11:33
I've switched from normal to hard difficulty - and the game is even more fun in that way. Certainly as my glassy Interceptor - because I die if someone sneezes at me.

Intensity is crazy with four people and a screen full of red dots - and the rewards are a lot better on hard mode.

I can't tell you how great the matchmaking works. I usually HATE playing with randoms in games like this - but it's just so well constructed that I've yet to be annoyed with anyone. That's a bit of a miracle for me

That said, to be fair, game does suffer a number of issues - no doubt. The loading screens remain the most painful one - and I truly hope they've improved it for launch.

I seem to recall them saying they have, but we'll see.

Apart from that, I also still think the Fort Tarsis paradigm is a bad fit for the game. They really should have spent more resources telling the story within the environment - and kept the flow brisk in that way.

Diablo 3 is a great example of how to do it - because most of the exposition happens as you play and pick up little audio journals. You can talk to NPCs, sure, but you don't make choices and you don't waste much time.

It's a little sad, in a way, because there's a lot of cool and quirky characters. Most of them are mainstream snorefests, but if you take care to explore and talk to some of the secondary characters, you'll find a lot to like.

It's just not how a game like this should work. It's Bioware trying to stay Bioware in a game that's decidedly not Bioware.

I fear that it will be quite divisive. People looking for Bioware-level story will be pissed at the "shooting and looting" repetition, and people just looking to murder stuff will be even more pissed because they have to talk to NPCs.

Thankfully, the main campaign is clearly just a small part of the whole game. Once you're through it (which shouldn't take much longer than 15-20 hours) - it's all about killing and looting, as it should be.

I thought I'd heard the story would be longer - but I think I got it mixed up with Division 2 - which will have a 40-hour campaign.

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February 17th, 2019, 15:24
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
PC Gamer reports some… interesting cinematics: https://www.pcgamer.com/anthems-cuts…nd-horrifying/
loading…


Kind of overblown commentary on PC Gamer's part, but still inexcusable for such a hyped up title.

Shame it's exclusive to Origin; with how much it reminds me of GW1's exploration, I'd probably have purchased it otherwise.
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February 17th, 2019, 15:47
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
Thankfully, the main campaign is clearly just a small part of the whole game. Once you're through it (which shouldn't take much longer than 15-20 hours) - it's all about killing and looting, as it should be.

I thought I'd heard the story would be longer
They might have cut parts of it after the twitchers/youtubers they invited to try the game in December told them they should limit it to 20 hours max.

But at the same time, BioWare games since Jade Empire don't have particularity long main stories either (exception DAO).
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February 17th, 2019, 19:45
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
They might have cut parts of it after the twitchers/youtubers they invited to try the game in December told them they should limit it to 20 hours max.

But at the same time, BioWare games since Jade Empire don't have particularity long main stories either (exception DAO).
Well, I spent around 80 hours on Andromeda

That said, I'm still not finished with the story in Anthem and I've played around 25 hours. I haven't been smelling the roses, either.

For a game like this, that's pretty good. Destiny 2 had something like a 12-14 hour story - and Division around 25 hours.

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February 17th, 2019, 20:18
I finally found a comfortable power loadout for my Interceptor.

It has taken me quite a while to figure out how to play that Javelin well, but I think I'm on to something.

It's funny, because the actual weapons have felt a little secondary to the powers up until this point, but I can now see that it's changing as you reach the higher levels. I've started finding Epic gear and weapons now - and they're making a big difference.

A lot of people are talking about how weapons all feel the same, and nothing could be further from the truth. I think the issue is that weapons within a category LOOK very similar, which is a shame - but I think it's a lore thing. They all have this weird cloth wrapped around them, for some reason.

But in terms of how the weapons sound and function, they're very distinct. Each category has 3 variants that are very different - and it's been really fun experimenting with them, so far.

My new favorite is the Vengeance shotgun, which fires a 1-2 burst and is INCREDIBLY satisfying. Which reminds me to mention the sound design. Sound in this game is fantastic - with a lot of punch and impact. Of particular note would be the lightning strikes - that sound like your monitor is about to explode.

Another aspect that reminds me of Diablo 3 - which also had some of the best sound effects I've ever heard.

Anyway, I use my Vengeance in conjunction with my Detonating Strike ability - as the enemy explodes and deals massive damage if I kill it within 4 seconds. So, a shotgun blast to the face is extremely effective there.

The game is so, so satisfying to me.

I'm also pleased to note that I've seen several YT personalities enjoying the game. I was afraid it would be the typical anti-EA and anti-Bioware hate train, so that's nice.

I'm sure there's a lot of that, though - but at least it's not all there is.

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February 19th, 2019, 01:42
So far I'm enjoying it. Not as much as I expected to, but I'm having fun regardless.

I've had a couple disconnects, but nothing that really hampered the experience.

I think I'm level 22 at the moment, and just finished the Tomb of General Tarsis. There was a fair bit of variety in that mission, and I liked the storytelling aspect of how she survived the trials.

I'm playing Colossus, and started the game on Hard difficulty. I'd say it's pretty well balanced here.

I can't pull away from the Devastator sniper, it's still ridiculously powerful. I'm using that in tandem with the Torrent heavy weapon, specific to the Colossus class.

Movement is just as satisfying as it was in the demo. Combat feels good, and there's even an option to increase gunfire feedback by amplifying the decibel level. I really appreciate that.

I'm not all that interested in the story, but the characters themselves are interesting.

Still so much to do, and I've tabbed out to post about it here. More to come soon.
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February 19th, 2019, 19:05
Alright, a few updates regarding my time with the game.

Got to 29 last night and found a Masterwork weapon, and it feels like a huge leap to go from Epic to Masterwork rarity, in terms of power. I'm about to make my way into the GM1 difficulty. I haven't tackled the other two strongholds yet, but I think that the Tyrant Mine stronghold was either scaled back for the demo, or scaled up for the main game because I'm not able to blow through it quite as fast on the same difficulty (Hard).

I can't remember what my javelin's power level is, but I think it's around 380 or so. I'm still a "blue rarity Colossus" (Rare Colossus, as the game calls it), but I should be breaking through into Epic rarity soon. I still haven't figured out what this all means, though. I imagine certain thresholds make it easier to traverse strongholds in higher difficulties, but I haven't found any concrete information on that yet.

I've encountered quite a number of quests that were broken. They often wouldn't trigger the next phase of the mission, and this became increasingly common as I got higher in level. I'd have to restart missions multiple times to get them to update properly. However, Bioware has plans to fix a lot of them for the day one patch.

I'm still adoring the combat. It's ridiculously addicting to me. I'm still not too fond of the story, but the characters are just as interesting as they were when I started.

Hopefully a lot of these bugs get squashed early on. Very positive experience so far aside from quest specific bugs that prevent progress, forcing you to restart.
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February 19th, 2019, 19:20
@Ragnaris

Sounds like we have had similar experiences.

The power level is just a combined number based on the power level of the gear you're wearing, and it's used to estimate what content you should be doing.

It's simply all the power levels added together, and nothing more. It doesn't take into account what kind of powers or the additional effects/inscriptions on them.

For instance, they recommend 340+ for GM1 level difficulty.

I tried GM1 briefly yesterday - and my first experience was one of instant and constant death. Then I took a look at my Component setup and I realised that maybe the +35% damage +35% damage taken might not be the best fit.

Then I played a couple of missions in GM1 - and did alright. I believe my current power level is around 390 or so.

The jump from Epic to Masterwork is very significant - because of the unique abilities that items have. They can easily double or triple their effectiveness in some cases.

As I've said before, Bioware learned some key lessons from Diablo 3 - and the loot hunt is tremendously satisfying once you reach Masterwork tier.

That said, I hope the loot table is big enough. I've seen a lot of the same items being mentioned on Reddit - and I worry that I'll be kitted out sooner rather than later.

Still, whatever the "professional" critics will bitch about - and whatever the anti-EA/Bioware outragers will claim, the most important part of this genre - namely the combat and core gameplay - is simply superior to all other games.

I know, because I've played each and every one of them, and there's no contest.

Sadly, I predict a middling reception - and I would personally esimate around 70 aggregate score on Metacritic.

I also predict that once the dust has settled, and the ignorant kids have thrown up their misinformation enough to support the YT personality income schemes - most people will come around and understand what Bioware have achieved.

I'm just hoping EA will accept subpar sales and allow Bioware to keep adding content, because it has a very bright future if that happens.

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February 19th, 2019, 20:19
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
@Ragnaris

Sounds like we have had similar experiences.

The power level is just a combined number based on the power level of the gear you're wearing, and it's used to estimate what content you should be doing.

It's simply all the power levels added together, and nothing more. It doesn't take into account what kind of powers or the additional effects/inscriptions on them.

For instance, they recommend 340+ for GM1 level difficulty.

I tried GM1 briefly yesterday - and my first experience was one of instant and constant death. Then I took a look at my Component setup and I realised that maybe the +35% damage +35% damage taken might not be the best fit.
Interesting. I hadn't been paying close attention to inscriptions throughout the game, knowing I'd be upgrading my gear so often. It certainly showed last night, however, when I realized one of my components gave my weapons a 26% increase in ammo capacity, but at the cost of being more susceptible to ice which is, in my mind, the most annoying status effect (as a Colossus that has to manually pull up my shield, if I'm frozen, I'm immediately exposed).

Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
Then I played a couple of missions in GM1 - and did alright. I believe my current power level is around 390 or so.

The jump from Epic to Masterwork is very significant - because of the unique abilities that items have. They can easily double or triple their effectiveness in some cases.

As I've said before, Bioware learned some key lessons from Diablo 3 - and the loot hunt is tremendously satisfying once you reach Masterwork tier.

That said, I hope the loot table is big enough. I've seen a lot of the same items being mentioned on Reddit - and I worry that I'll be kitted out sooner rather than later.
This is my main concern, too. As I understand it, only 6 Masterwork items can be obtained before GM1. After that, everything should be available to you. However, the table does seem somewhat small. I took a peek at it over the course of a few weeks, and I think it needs a bit more variety.

Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post
Still, whatever the "professional" critics will bitch about - and whatever the anti-EA/Bioware outragers will claim, the most important part of this genre - namely the combat and core gameplay - is simply superior to all other games.

I know, because I've played each and every one of them, and there's no contest.

Sadly, I predict a middling reception - and I would personally esimate around 70 aggregate score on Metacritic.

I also predict that once the dust has settled, and the ignorant kids have thrown up their misinformation enough to support the YT personality income schemes - most people will come around and understand what Bioware have achieved.

I'm just hoping EA will accept subpar sales and allow Bioware to keep adding content, because it has a very bright future if that happens.
Agreed. I felt it was going to sit around 80 or so, but after taking a huge bite out of the game so far, I can see why it might not rest quite as high. My primary concern is sales, of course. Bioware might not be quite as committed to the future of Anthem were it to sell poorly, but I think that has more to do with them being under supervision of EA.
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February 19th, 2019, 20:26
Interesting. I hadn't been paying close attention to inscriptions throughout the game, knowing I'd be upgrading my gear so often. It certainly showed last night, however, when I realized one of my components gave my weapons a 26% increase in ammo capacity, but at the cost of being more susceptible to ice which is, in my mind, the most annoying status effect (as a Colossus that has to manually pull up my shield, if I'm frozen, I'm immediately exposed).
There's apparently a bug in the game where certain (if not all) suit-wide inscriptions aren't applying correctly.

For instance, I've had several pieces of Gear with +20% speed (which is cooldown reduction on gear) - and they had zero effect.

According to the patch notes, it will be fixed - or at least I hope that's what it means.

This is my main concern, too. As I understand it, only 6 Masterwork items can be obtained before GM1. After that, everything should be available to you. However, the table does seem somewhat small. I took a peek at it over the course of a few weeks, and I think it needs a bit more variety.
Yes, I heard about that 6 item loot table - which was a bit of a relief, because I'm hoping all those posts on Reddit with "first masterwork" are largely from that pool.

Of course, I'm supremely greedy when it comes to items and variety - so even a thousand items wouldn't be enough.

I just hope they'll keep adding more and ever more interesting ones, too.

For me, one of the biggest draws of the genre is the ability to create multiple inventive and fun builds. The crazier the better, really.

Agreed. I felt it was going to sit around 80 or so, but after taking a huge bite out of the game so far, I can see why it might not rest quite as high. My primary concern is sales, of course. Bioware might not be quite as committed to the future of Anthem were it to sell poorly, but I think that has more to do with them being under supervision of EA.
Yeah. I find myself completely unable to predict sales for this one.

I hate being invested in games for this reason - because I know it will piss me off if the whiners end up affecting sales.

It's so rare that I see games going above and beyond - and really surprise me.

Originally, I was pretty "meh" about Anthem - because I expected exactly what the "critics" are claiming it is, another boring Destiny clone.

But it's NOT a boring Destiny clone. It's something special - and I was very surprised by that.

Now, I just hope it ends up a reasonably big hit.

But I have my doubts.

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February 19th, 2019, 20:32
How are other players handled? How is instancing and dungeons (assuming there are dungeons) handled?
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February 19th, 2019, 20:40
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
How are other players handled? How is instancing and dungeons (assuming there are dungeons) handled?
As you said, it's sort of like Guild Wars.

Once you leave the hub - the world is shared between you and your party. You can solo most of the content, but the actual world is shared with your party.

The whole world is instanced, like Guild Wars, and that includes the mini-dungeons you can enter.

For Strongholds, it's like Destiny. You have to queue for those - and then they're instanced.

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