Solid Ocean fractal
Fans of Cantha, gather 'round! The Solid Ocean fractal takes place on none other than the Jade Sea (kind of). This is something of a bonus fractal: You'll hit it at the tail end of evenly numbered difficulty levels. This is a special boss encounter, so you'll have a fairly quick bit of trash fighting and jumping on your way to your whole purpose for being there: the Jade Maw.
Your fight will begin as you take down two tentacles, then the Maw goes on the offensive. You'll still need to take out tentacles, but now you'll be watching out for a big red skull above your head while doing so. The skull marks a person being targeted by the Jade Maw, and you'll have to either dodge out of the way or pick up one of the reflecting crystals that will be scattered around the area. Reflecting crystals are the preferred method of avoiding these attacks, as they'll become charged weapons that you can throw to damage and stun the Maw. Ol' Mawface can be hurt only by those projectiles or by your taking out his tentacles. Once he takes enough damage, he'll die, but not before blasting everyone in the party with his death ray, so be sure at least one person has a reflecting crystal.
Kill all the monsters on this level to unlock the (somewhat macabre) "Open Grave" achievement!
The swampland starts you off in, well, a swamp. Your first goal is to take three wisps from different areas of the map to their stumps, which is made tricky not only by a time limit but by traps and tripwires, changing scenery (no, really, trees just appear out of nowhere), and mobs (including one champion drake who just cannot take a hint).
After clearing the wisps (which may take you a few tries 'til you get a feel for it), you'll be directed to take out either the Bloomhunger or the Mossman. The Bloomhunger is a giant tree... spirit... thing. He'll spawn little friends who shouldn't be difficult to take out. The Mossman summons wolves and has a pretty brutal melee attack. As you wear him down, he'll get even more dangerous with a truly annoying knack for stealthing and a powerful hit that's been known to one-shot players.
Don't trip on a single trap in this fractal to get the special achievement for this round! (I'm still working on this one, personally.)
Underground Facility fractal
This fractal starts off being all about pressure plates: One person needs to head down the left path to hold down the first. Once someone is standing on the second plate (off on the right path), the first plate-holder can rejoin the group; once all of those people are inside the main room, the second plate-holder can join up and the whole group will be together in the control room. At that point, there are two more pressure plates to hold down; doing so will open up a control panel. Someone needs about 20 seconds of uninterrupted time at that control panel to open the door to the next section.
Killing the champion and his buddies will open up the last hallway, which will be filled with different mobs that match the type of your final boss -- either the Legendary Dredge Powersuit or the Legendary Hulking Ice Elemental. No matter which you get, you'll have to pull it around to stand under buckets of molten ore to keep the Superheated debuff applied. You can either run all the way around the circuit of buckets or train back and forth betewen the two on the right side of the room. One person should be tripping the buckets, and everyone else should be moving in unison from place to place, pulling the boss pretty constantly. If you see the Elemental kneeling, throw an interrupt on it to keep it from healing.
Kill Rabsovich without dying to unlock the special 'chieve for this section.
Urban Battlegrounds fractal
I hope you like Charr because you're stuck as a member of the good ol' Flame Legion for this fractal! Along with some NPC buddies, you will attempt to overtake Ascalon. Aim for the gate (and Siegemaster Dulfy) as quickly as you can. Destroy the guarded gate and its ballistae, arrow carts, and pots of oil. Aim for the burning oil first (and then the other weapons, and then Dulfy), as it kind of stings.
Push through the gate and move counter-clockwise through the city. After some scraps with Ascalonians, you'll find yourself in a vast courtyard, where you'll need to protect a Shaman during a fire-summoning ritual. Finally, you'll go claw-to-toe with Captain Amysh, who has a permanent protection boon, a lot of retaliation and might, and a nasty swing. If you kill off his summoned Squires, he'll just bring up another, so it's not a bad idea to just dodge the Squire's attacks and focus on Amysh.
Kill every chicken within the fractal for a special achievement.
I hope you like smashing Grawl in the face because that's about all you do in this fractal (well, along with dying horribly in pits of lava). Kill a host of grawl, then make your way down a corridor, keeping an eye out for giant, flaming boulders as you go. Avoid the boulders and you should make it to the next step just fine. You'll see Grawl Shaman trying to sacrifice some prisoners (protip: save them all for a bonus chest), and your job is to stop him. Occasionally during your fight with the Shaman, he'll surround himself in a bubble shield, which you can penetrate if you chuck flaming rocks at it. While you're focused on the Shaman, don't ignore his little buddies, who'll still be intent on shoving sacrificial victims off a ledge and into lava.
Once you've "defeated" the Shaman, he'll jump down and turn into his final boss mode. Run down some broken railway tracks, avoid the lava pits, and find a lovely little lava island for your fight. Make sure to keep moving for this fight, as standing still will light your toes on fire. When the Shaman puts up his shield this time around, stack as many hits on it as possible to take it down before he kills a villager and heals. At the same time as he puts on his bubble, he'll be summoning little minions; take them down after you've got rid of the shield.
Don't fall into lava and you'll get an additional achievement for this fractal.
I told you before that the Colossus fractal was my favorite, but this is the fractal that almost makes me a liar. This has the highest amount of jumping puzzle content, although none of the jumps is really difficult (just tricky enough that making it through the puzzle without falling to your death is the bonus achievement). You'll fight harpies as you jump up on floating bits of masonry, after which you'll find yourself in a room facing four enemies. Kill them from smallest to largest (or something along those lines, depending on whether you find bunnies or bandits more threatening), then run up a nearby staircase. Sound easy? Electric beams roll down the staircase as you're trying to run up it. Getting caught by one will transport you in a downed (but not defeated) state to the bottom of the steps. I advise saving your dodges for the home stretch. Three people (or one person with a good immobilize cleanser) can turn off the pulses so everyone else can run up just fine.
After that you'll find a golem boss in a room that's frequently filled with poison. Have one person focus on moving crystals around the room to activate a fan to blow the poison away, then go back to jumping through space and killing harpies.
Your final boss fight will have a few stages. First you'll have to defeat four golems back-to-back, then all four of them will fight you at once. For the four-golem fight, you'll find positive and negative signs over everyone's head: Stand next to people with a similar charge unless you fancy taking extra damage.
Now that you're forewarned and forearmed, get in there and stabilize those fractals!
Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.