Arenanet has been doing a good job of keeping its upcoming Guild Wars 2 releases fairly transparent. This gives those of us playing a very great deal to look forward to at any given point in time. The newest big thing to look forward to is the formal reveal of the latest map coming to the game’s static PvP, the Norn-themed Spirit Watch.
The most important feature of the release announcement is the full explanation of the unique mechanic of the map. While all of the static PvP maps in Guild Wars 2 use control points to force conflict between the two teams, each also has another feature to further complicate the way the map plays on each individual map. Spirit Watch makes use of an orb, called the Orb of Ascension.
What does it do?
The Orb spawns in the center of the map and takes a brief channel from a player to pick up. It then slows the movement speed of the player holding it, who can then take it to one of the three control points on the map. These control points, each at a different shrine to one of the Norn patron spirits, react differently to the Orb based on who currently controls them.
If the Orb is brought to a friendly-controlled point, the team scores 30 points immediately. If it is brought to a neutral or enemy-controlled point, then 15 points are scored. Where it starts to get very tricky is bringing the Orb to an enemy-controlled point also instantly neutralizes the point, allowing for some risky but potentially very rewarding come-from-behind tactics.
Slow and steady…
Carrying this Orb is risky, however. The movement speed reduction is a solid 40%, and moreover renders the player incapable of gaining swiftness or stealth by any means. If the player tries to teleport or gets downed by anything, they drop the Orb immediately, meaning no Mesmer-portal shenanigans.
This mechanic, like most of the sPvP map unique features, has the potential to be radically game-changing, but is also restrictive enough to force teams to actually have to think and coordinate to make use of it, given how vulnerable the person actually carrying the Orb becomes. Guild Wars 2’s newest sPvP map is not quite going to be as simple as assigning a player as the ‘flag-runner’, and that is a very good thing.