Introduction to Fractals


This guide is to be an introduction to the Fractals of the Mists dungeon in Guild Wars 2. It will give a brief explanation on the Fractals of the Mists dungeon, basic mechanics, group requirements, and other tips and tricks to be aware of when preparing to tackle Fractals.

What is/are the Fractals of the Mists?

Fractals of the Mists, more commonly known as just Fractals, is technically a level 80 dungeon that is located in Lions Arch. In reality, it is a series of mini dungeons each with their own unique story that increase in difficulty scaling from level 1-100. This unique mechanic allows for newer players to jump in and learn the ropes while also offering more challenging content with higher rewards for veterans.

The dungeon can be accessed in two locations:

  • Lions Arch: There is an Asura gate in the center of Fort Marriner that will allow you to select your difficulty level and enter the instance.
  • Mistlock Sanctuary: This method requires the Mistlock Sanctuary Passkey which is a gem store exclusive. There is another asura gate located here.


Difficulty Scaling and Personal Fractal Level

As mentioned before, Fractals of the Mists uses a difficulty scale which is unlike all other instanced content. The difficulty can be selected initially when entering into the Instance, and then changed in the hub by interacting with the Scale Setting Sequencer, which can be found by heading left immediately after entering.


There are 100 different fractal levels that can be selected that are divided into 4 separate tiers. While eventually their seem to be plans to have 25 unique fractals so that no level repeats in a tier, there are currently only 20. This means that a few levels will occasionally repeat while in a fractal tier. Here are the differences in each tier as they progress:

Changes across tiers:

  • More Enemies spawn at higher levels.
  • New items drop at different frequencies.
  • Enemies are given new abilities.

Levels 1-25: These are the introductory levels that are used to teach players the basic layout and mechanics of each fractal level.

  • Starting at fractal level 20 and above, players will encounter the Agony mechanic. See Agony for details.

Levels 26-50: This tier introduces Mistlock Instabilities, which act as modifiers and add a new effect to the fractal level.

Levels 51-75: In this tier, players will have to deal with 2 stacking Mistlock instabilities.

  • Starting at fractal level 71, a Fractal Avenger will spawn whenever a player goes down. The avenger will attempt to finish off a downed player, and must be interrupted or killed before completing its animation.

Levels 76-100: The final and highest tier of fractals. These fractals all have 3 mistlock instabilities along with Fractal Avengers.

Each player also has an account wide "Personal Fractal Level". This serves two purposes when entering the dungeon.

  • Players are only able to select fractal levels that are on the same level or below their current Personal Fractal level.
  • It serves as an indicator for the level of rewards the player will receive after completing any given fractal. A player with a higher personal fractal level will earn more rewards for doing the same fractal then someone with a lower level. A player can raise their Fractal Level by completing a fractal level that is either the same as or higher than their individual level. This caps at 100.


Agony is an effect that begins at fractal level 20 and persists on all subsequent fractal levels. Agony takes the form of a condition of sorts, however it cannot be cleansed. With each tick of the Agony effect, players will have reduced healing and take a large amount of damage based on a percentage of their max HP. The amount of damage applied increased per fractal level, starting at 10% and ending at 180%. At later levels, agony resistance is required.

Agony damage can be reduced by applying Agony Resistance infusions to ascended equipment, eventually taking the damage down to as little as 1%. These infusions can only be placed in ascended armor and trinkets, with the only exception being an amulet.

  • This mechanic acts as a barrier for a lot of players, as fractal level 100 requires 150 Agony resistance, or AR. The max infusion slots a player can have is 18, assuming that they have an infused back-piece along with infused and attuned rings. This can be done most efficiently with 14 +8 infusions, 3 +9 infusions, and 1 +10 Infusions. These can all be crafted or purchased from the trading post.


Mistlock Instabilities

Mistlock instabilities are added effects to fractal levels starting at level 26. These instabilities then stack with each subsequent tier, ending with 3 fractal instabilities in tier 4. The instabilities can be seen at the top right and while selecting a fractal and inside the level. They shuffle randomly everyday, so it is unlikely to have the same combination on any given fractal. Here is a full list of instabilities that can be encountered.

Icon Mistlock Instability Description
1 Adrenaline Rush When enraged, enemies deal 150% increased damage while they're low on health. Enemies deal 20% less damage when not enraged.
2 Afflicted Outgoing resistance duration is increased by 50%. Enemies apply random conditions.
3 Boon Overload Each boon increases incoming strike damage by 5%. Outgoing boon duration is increased by 20%.
4 Flux Bomb You are periodically afflicted by the Anomaly's flux bombs. Flux bombs apply to both allies and enemies.
5 Fractal Vindicators Fractal Avengers are replaced by more-powerful Fractal Vindicators.
6 Frailty Players are smaller and have 30% less health, but move 25% faster.
7 Hamstrung Low health increasingly slows your movements. Endurance regenerates 33% faster.
8 Last Laugh Enemies explode upon dying if not stunned. Stunned enemies apply protection and stability to nearby allies.
9 Mists Convergence The Fractals of the Mists are blurring together…
10 No Pain, No Gain Enemies receive boons when hit. Stripping an enemy boon will steal their life.
11 Outflanked Foes within 300 range do 300% damage when attacking from behind, but only 75% damage when attacking head on.
12 Social Awkwardness Players will be pushed away from one another.
13 Stick Together Take 60% increased damage when not within 300 range of an ally. Take 20% reduced damage when within 300 range of an ally.
14 Sugar Rush Increases movement speed and attack speed by 15%. Elite and lower enemies' movement speed and attack speed increases by 35%.
15 Toxic Trail Enemies leave a path of poison behind them. Blocking a toxic trail attack will absorb it and cleanse the condition.
16 Vengeance When enemies die, they enhance nearby foes with multiple boons; does not apply to elite foes. Strip any enemy boon to inflict them with weakness.
17 We Bleed Fire Enemies create flaming missiles when damaged. Incoming condition damage is reduced by 20%.

Certain instabilities are fairly easy to deal with, however here are a few notes on some that are particularly frustrating:

  • Frailty is a common problem for most groups as it lowers the base health pool of everyone in the party. This leaves it to the healer to try and pick up the slack. However, it is still best to avoid taking whatever damage possible.
  • No Pain, No Gain can become a very large issue if none of the players have any boonstrip on their kit. This instability is often countered by a support Renegade swapping to their Legendary Demon Stance, and using Banish Enchantment Banish Enchantment. If this mechanic is ignored, enemies will be very difficult to defeat.
  • Fluxbomb is easy enough to avoid by simply walking off the group and letting the bomb detonate in a safe area. Dropping the bomb on the group however can end with catastrophic results.
  • Fractal Vindicators replace the obnoxious Fractal Avengers, however they can swarm groups easily. Managing the Vindicators is imperative for a groups success.
  • Mist Convergence can often be a boon just as often as it is a curse. There are a variety of different effects that can occur, all of which are mechanics from other fractals. Some dangerous ones include
  • 1. Champion Rabbit from the Uncategorized fractal
  • 2. Skyhammer from the pvp related map
  • 3. Awakened Abomination from the Twilight Oasis fractal.
  • 4. Jade Maw Tentacle from the Solid Ocean fractal.

Fractal Masteries

Fractals of the Mists has its own section of masteries that can be earned like any other mastery with the mastery track. They are located in the Central Tyria mastery tab under Fractal Attunement. It is heavily recommended that all four of the masteries be trained as to utilize Mistlock Singularities which are located within each fractal level.

  • Follows Advice: This mastery allows the use of several vendors in the Mistlock Observatory before entering into any fractal level. These vendors often hold items that are very useful while doing fractals.
  • Agony Channeler: This unlocks the ability to attune and infuse ones ascended rings in the mystic forge, as well as having increased effects from fractal potions.
  • Recursive Resourcing: Having this unlocked will grant the player greater rewards when completing a fractal.
  • Mistlock Singularities: This is by far the most important mastery for fractals. The Mistlock Singularities not only repair equipped armor, which is important due to the lack of repair stations in each level, but also refresh all cool-downs and bring a player back up to 20% health after taking lethal damage.

Fractal Potions

There are four types of fractal potions that can be earned or purchased inside the Mistlock Observatory that can be stacked up to 5 times. While not essential, they are a very nice boost to have when going into high level fractals. They are as follows:

  • Offensive: Increases outgoing damage and increases precision with the Agony Channeler mastery trained.
  • Defensive: Incoming damage is reduced by 5% per stack and increases toughness with the Agony Channeler mastery trained.
  • Mobility: Increases movement speed by 5% per stack and increases endurance recharge rate with the Agony Channeler mastery trained.
  • Anguished Tear of Alba: Grants 10 Agony Resistance and adds 5 more with the Fractal Attunement Mastery trained.


Rewards and Daily Fractals

High level fractals are a very good source of income and equipment as they often drop ascended gear and other valuable materials.

Loot and Rewards from Fractals

After completing any given fractal, players will be rewarded with the following:

  • +1 Agony Infusions
  • Character Equipment
  • Recipes
  • Fractal Relics
  • Fractal Encryptions
  • Fractal Encryption Keys

Daily and Recommended Fractals

Every day after server reset, a new set of 3 daily fractals and 3 recommended fractals will become available. Oftentimes these fractals will be run and groups can be found on the LFG. At tier 4, it is common place to find a group running through all 3 Daily fractals and then completing the recommended levels. This is primarily where the big loot comes from as completing a daily or recommended fractal will reward the player with a chest that matches the tier they completed as well as all tiers under. At most, completing one daily fractal can reward 4 chests if done on tier 4. These chests often contain ascended loot as well as other valuable materials.

While the instabilities in fractals will always be random, both the daily and recommended fractals are on a 15 day rotation, with certain sets being available on those given days. Those rotations are as follows:

Daily Fractals

Set Fractals
1 Solid Ocean Underground Facility Urban Battleground
2 Aetherblade Chaos Nightmare
3 Cliffside Molten Boss Siren's Reef
4 Swampland Solid Ocean Deepstone
5 Captain Mai Trin Boss Shattered Observatory Molten Boss
6 Nightmare Snowblind Volcanic
7 Aetherblade Uncategorized Thaumanova Reactor
8 Twilight Oasis Cliffside Chaos
9 Underground Facility Deepstone Captain Mai Trin Boss
10 Snowblind Solid Ocean Nightmare
11 Chaos Uncategorized Urban Battleground
12 Siren's Reef Molten Furnace Deepstone
13 Molten Boss Twilight Oasis Underground Facility
14 Volcanic Swampland Shattered Observatory
15 Snowblind Thaumanova Reactor Aquatic Ruins

Recommended Fractals

Set Fractals
1 11 - Deepstone 39 - Molten Furnace 59 - Twilight Oasis
2 18 - Captain Mai Trin Boss 27 - Snowblind 64 - Thaumanova Reactor
3 4 - Urban Battleground 30 - Chaos 58 - Molten Furnace
4 16 - Twilight Oasis 42 - Captain Mai Trin Boss 72 - Volcanic
5 5 - Swampland 48 - Thaumanova Reactor 68 - Snowblind
6 2 - Uncategorized 37 - Siren's Reef 53 - Underground Facility
7 6 - Cliffside 28 - Volcanic 61 - Aquatic Ruins
8 10 - Molten Boss 32 - Swampland 65 - Aetherblade
9 14 - Aetherblade 34 - Thaumanova Reactor 75 - Shattered Observatory
10 19 - Volcanic 37 - Siren's Reef 66 - Urban Battleground
11 15 - Thaumanova Reactor 41 - Twilight Oasis 60 - Solid Ocean
12 24 - Nightmare 35 - Solid Ocean 75 - Shattered Observatory
13 25 - Shattered Observatory 36 - Uncategorized 69 - Cliffside
14 12 - Siren's Reef 40 - Molten Boss 67 - Deepstone
15 8 - Underground Facility 31 - Urban Battleground 54 - Siren's Reef

These fractals will always give enhanced rewards, and players should strive to complete them. Players often make a significant amount of gold by opening the Fractal Encryption that are rewarded by completing the daily and recommended fractals. Keys can be earned through chests or by purchasing them in the Mistlock Observatory.

Team Composition

While fractals are not as complicated as Raids can be, a team composition is still often required for higher tier fractals, and especially for level 99 and 100 CM. As fractals are limited to parties of 5 as opposed to squads of 10, there is less wiggle room as to what rolls need to be filled. However, most teams can get away with one source of healing, a source of Alacrity Alacrity, a source of Quickness Quickness, and Dps.

An example team comp, and one that is often expected is as follows:

  • Alacrity Renegade, better known as Alacrigade.
  • Healing Firebrand, for the boons and constant healing.
  • 3 Dps classes.

This is by far not the only composition that will work for fractals, so feel free to experiment. For a selection of builds that are useful for fractals, please see our [builds]

Fractal Guides

I hope this guide has provided some clarity for fractals and the possibilities that it supplies for players. This guide was written for introductory purposes. For more detailed guides on specific fractal levels, 99 & 100 Challenge Modes, and how to obtain Ad Infinitum please see our other guides!