This entirely new map has opened up specifically for the massive trading event that has grabbed the attention of every citizen in the region. Once the boat docks at the foot of the cliffside, a slew of merchants will be ready to buy, sell, and trade all sorts of goodies from all over. Said goodies range from bulk cooking supplies to bazaar supply boxes; standard sets of armor to fancy new helms and back pieces. One of the perks of engaging with such a range of diverse travelers are all of the stacks of loot you've collected from your own travels are actually fairly valuable. Luckily, the fine art of bartering goes both ways. If you can find it in your heart to part with your piles of Zhaitaffy, candy corn, wood, iron, and other collectibles, you may just find yourself with quite a few new items. Your inner-skritt would be proud.
The Labyrinthine Cliffs as a whole is designed around three new elemental movement skills; Assisted Leap, Light Dash, and Lightning Pull. Each of these skills have their own specific function that will be used to navigate the cliff and explore its surrounding areas. The first skill you'll come in contact with is the Light Dash, whose primary function is clear short distances with incredible speed. It's comparable to the highly adored elementalist skill "Ride the Lightning", but lacks the nasty recharge time. It also has the uncanny ability to turn an overeager asura into a norn sized pancake.
Once the first trial has been cleared, interact with the wind crystal to unlock the Assisted Jump skill. Fans of the bounce pads in Super Adventure Box will feel right at home with this skill, as one click sends your character flying roughly five times the standard jump height. Better yet, a satisfying running long-jump can be achieved by chaining it with the previously mentioned Light Dash; a skill that will no doubt give you the edge in more...competitive situations. The final ability is Lightning Pull. Mechanically similar to Light Dash, Lightning Pull quickly closes the gap between distances through either a ground targeted strike or by utilizing a purple lightning totem. These totems will begin to give off a bright glow if it finds you are within range, and, as long as you see that glow, will be able to use the skill to automatically grapple it and hurl yourself across next to it. Typically, you'll find yourself with ample room to reach to necessary grapple point, but there are trickier totems placed throughout the map that require one or two of the other two skills to reach.
Events and The Zephyr Sanctum
Throughout the trek to the top of the cliff, there are several events chains that will activate for whatever reason. These can be as simple as distributing a trade yak's saddle contents to dealing with unruly barterers that have absolutely no problem with knocking you off to your death. Exploration is one of Labyrinthine Cliff's highlights, so be sure to break off from the busy main path to find any secrets that may be hiding.
After sifting through the cliffside bazaar and honing your new-found skills, there's an entire airship left for you to explore. The whole ship is best described as a crazy jungle gym jumping puzzle. Leap up along planks and rafters in search of more collectibles, or make an attempt to find the best dive spot ever. The Zephyr Sanctum is a famous vessel that some have only dreamed of seeing in person. Dig around the ship to learn about its history, and maybe even meet a new friend or two.
The spiritual successor to Rollerbeetle Racing from the original Guild Wars' Dragon Festival, Sanctum Sprint is a footrace to the finish. However, there are a few minor elements sprinkled in to spice things up a bit. At the start, players will find themselves equipped with the three new elemental movement skills, and as the race progresses will be required to run through power-ups to stay ahead. Think of the race as a horizontal jumping puzzle. Hazards will do their very best to get in your way and may very well drop you from first to last place if not maneuvered through properly. Doors will open and shut, gaps will swallow racers whole, and even entire paths will change as you progress through each race. If you're skilled enough to make your way to the top before the eight minute race is over, be sure to interact with a special vista icon to change your camera angle to catch a glimpse of the remaining competitors who are making their way through the final stretch.
The Achievement Panel
Alongside the themed story content, a huge quality-of-life update has also snuck its way into the build. The revamped achievement panel has been streamlined to provide distinct separation between achievements, rewards, and account bonuses. Each achievement section has been divided into sections that can be expanded until the desired area has been reached. For example, clicking on the General list expands into a list of achievement categories, such as slayer, bosses, jumping puzzles, etc. Players can then go through and select which achievements they would like to focus on, which will in turn place them in the upper-right corner of the screen as well as the new watch list. As time goes on, achievements eventually turn into points, which then turn into account rewards that can be unlocked and reclaimed via the main summary page. Among these new rewards are the Zenith weapons, new armor skins, and several active account bonuses. The best part is any skin unlocked through this system, Zenith weapon or otherwise, can be used as many times as desired across all characters on your account. Simply bring up the achievement panel and pick from the pool of rewards you've unlocked. These unlock chests are given once every 500 points, and contain progressively higher rewards as your point level rises.* Laurels, magic find bonuses, and gold coins will also fall into your lap as you climb the ladder in search of your favorite reward.
*Retroactive chests will be given out daily until their supply has been depleted.
Cliff scaling and glorious weapons aside, keep an eye out for some of the other goodies spread out across the world. World Vs World players can look forward to the build and repair ability lines, the long-rumored Skyhammer PvP map will finally be available, and the new Belcher's Bluff mini game will please drunken norn far and wide. The new quartz nodes scattered throughout the new map will also be used in several recipes that will be introduced once the update goes live. The material will vanish with the map, so don't forget to unlock the node in your home instance.
This massive update has a lot of love and good feelings poured into it, and players of all different play styles will have something for them. The living story as a whole has progressed incredibly well since the Lost Shores and the Flame and Frost, and with the two week update period official there's even more room for improvement as time goes on. The Bazaar of the Four Winds will no doubt be remembered along with Halloween and Wintersday once it passes on. Until then, be sure to get your fill of Sanctum Sprint in, and definitely grab some of the shiny rewards before they're gone.