The recent update/patch that hit Guild Wars 2 on the 28th has had a lot of hype building up to it. There have been updates that various people on Arenanet’s staff have been plugging as coming soon or, in some cases, actually on the date.
So what does this patch actually give us?
The first change, and the particular one that the update takes its name from, is the inclusion of what Arenanet has called the prelude to a continuous in-game narrative. They’ve added a new ‘Living Story’ achievement category to track your character’s progress through the new storylines that further patches will include. The first living story achievement is already in the game, called ‘Refugee Volunteer.’
Along with the beginning of this living story, events for it have been added to the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau. To keep players who aren’t actively participating in this evolving living story, heralds are announced as being added shortly to keep people in the major cities notified of what’s going on in the world at large.
The new currency associated with dailies, the laurel, has been added to Guild Wars 2. A single laurel will be earned for completing a daily achievement category and 10 laurels for completing a monthly achievement category. Laurel vendors are in all the major cities now, and will exchange laurels for all kinds of items including ascended amulets, a new type of infusion, crafting starter kits, and even unique miniatures. They’ve got over 90 items all told, so check them out in-game.
They’ve also updated the UI to make it easier to keep track of the daily and monthly achievements that have been completed to help with earning those laurels, which is especially helpful since those daily achievements also rotate every day.
All dungeons received a major change in that a player is not able to use waypoints within the dungeon while any player in their party is engaged in combat. This was done to try and end the res-rush strategy often used on many dungeon bosses, as Arenanet felt it was contrary to the spirit of teamwork that they want to promote in Guild Wars 2 dungeon parties. The strategy involved a player reviving and waypointing in, rushing to rejoin the battle after dying before the fight is actually over and zerging themselves into the enemy over and over.
They’ve also finally put into place the promised updates to the fractals of the mists dungeons. Specifically, players can now reconnect after being disconnected, connect to a fractal map even if they weren’t in the group that originally generated it, join any fractal map regardless of their level, and revive at a checkpoint in the map if the entire party is out of combat.
World vs World has had the simple update of having character load times reduced using preloader placeholder models. Structured Player vs Player has the more dramatic change of having the paid tournament system, for one week, switched from eight teams playing through three maps until only one is left standing to having two teams competing on a single map, the Temple of the Silent Storm. The victor of this battle will receive a chest of lesser rewards than they would have received for winning one of the full eight-team tournaments, but this is offset by having the two-team tournament cost less per team to enter.
Once this one-week period ends, paid tournaments will return to the eight-team format, but the Temple of the Silent Storm will be added from then on to the list of tournament maps for the eight-team format.
Guesting, Transfers, and Bugs, oh my!
The promised guesting feature is now active, with players being able to visit their friends on other servers. The limitations are keeping to the same region (so no NA players visiting EU for example) and that a guesting player has no access to any World vs World areas.
Now that guesting is active, transferring characters permanently to a new server costs a gem fee, based on the population of the world being transferred to.
The rest of the changes are mostly bugfixes and world-polishing, though it is a long list of such changes that I won’t go on about here. You can find the full list in the source below. For now, Guild Wars 2 is looking good, and like it’s heading in the right direction, with Arenanet delivering faster than expected on some of their features while keeping the rest on schedule.