The answer to another question I asked points me towards the Guild Wars 2 Wiki article for dungeons, which has this comment at the bottom:

With the implementation of story mode and the subsequent variations available for explorable mode, as well as the different fractal zones, these nine dungeons provide at least forty-three different experiences.

Seeing that there are nine specifically named instances, each with an 'exploration' mode and 'story' mode, what does this actually mean in terms of gameplay?

I am going to assume that the 'story' mode leads on from my personal story, and these are the instances highlighted in my mail with the symbol used on the map for the dungeon entrance (the wooden door), but what is 'exploration' mode, and what are the other game modes that make these nine dungeons provide 'at least' forty-three different experiences?

1 Answer 1


The story mode is actually a side story, an add-on to the personal story. Explorable mode is usually providing harder quests in the same dungeon.

Most dungeons have 1 path in story mode, and 3 different paths in explore mode. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

  • Twilight Arbor doesn't have 3 clear paths since the beginning to choose from, but has in fact 1 or 2 intersections. The possible paths still sum up to 3, though.
  • The Ruined city of Arah has 4 explore paths, instead of 3.
  • The Fractals of the Mists is particular, and is actually composed of 9 mini-dungeons. A run through the Fractals will pick a combination of 3 of those mini-dungeons, to which will be added a fourth one (fixed one), if the difficulty scale is an even number.

So if we sum it up, it makes seven "regular dungeons" with four paths (1 story + 3 explore) and one with five paths:

7 x (1+3) + (1+4) = 33 different experiences from the regular dungeons.

The fractals can be counted on several ways.
Technically, there are only 9 different zones. However, if you count each possible combination as a different instance, the total goes up to:

  9*8*7 (for uneven numbers)
+ 8*7*6 (for even numbers)
=   840 different dungeons

If you want to be particularly specific on anything which defines a "different" experience, you could account for the difficulty level (80 of them), as well as the order in which the combinations come (and multiply by 6), which would leave you with a total of...

403200 "different" fractal experiences.

But that would be slightly exaggerating.

  • When people are "LFG Fractal" in the cities, are the specifically talking about the Fractals of the Mists instance?
    – kalina
    Dec 4, 2012 at 11:07
  • @pixel Correct. If someone were to say "LFG Fractals 4," they mean they're looking to do the 4th difficulty level of FotM.
    – Niro
    Dec 4, 2012 at 11:45
  • Ah so that's what FOTM stands for in GW2, in most other games it's "Flavour of the month" (in terms of which class is strongest this patch)
    – kalina
    Dec 4, 2012 at 11:55
  • Some clarifications: FotM has 9 mini dungeons, of which you complete 3 random ones upon entering, and a 4th one which is always the same if you are doing an even number difficulty. It is likely that more fractals will be added to the random mix later. Also Twilight Arbor only has 3 explorable paths, not 4.
    – Brian
    Apr 19, 2013 at 18:35
  • 1
    @Brian - Thanks, indeed, I counted two intersections, but only one path after the first has the second intersection, leaving to 3 different ways. For fractals, I clarified the point (and went a bit overboard with it). I hadn't played them at the time of writing, I understand now the combination.
    – Gnoupi
    Apr 23, 2013 at 13:41

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