Tomorrow marks the release of the Cutthroat Politics story arc, and quite possibly the toughest decision the player-base has ever had to make. After an assassination leaves an open seat on the Lion's Arch council, the race begins to fill the spot with the person most deserving of the role. Ellen Kiel and Evon Gnashblade have given their respective campaign promises, and wars have since been waged over who would be the best fit. Evon's Abaddon fractal has been a popular weapon against Kiel supporters, but lower waypoint fees are incredible for a week, let alone four of them. Arguments can be made for each contender, but the best course of action is to do a bit of research to find out if your current choice is what you really want to go for. Now, in a completely neutral fashion, here's what you should know about Evon Gnashblade and Ellen Kiel's promises before you place your vote.
"I Like Evon!"
Evon Gnashblade is the current head of the Black Lion Trading Company and has an oozing passion for commerce and trade. After eavesdropping on Ellen Kiel and her plans to win over the Zephyrites, he is taking a great deal of pleasure in giving the captain a healthy amount of competition in the upcoming race. From the promise of a fractal researching the Fall of Abaddon to the month long Black Lion Key sale, this kitty knows how to win over a crowd. But what exactly is the Fall of Abaddon? Anyone who has played the final mission of Guild Wars: Nightfall knows Kormir and gang had no problem toppling his dreams of conquering the world, but what happened before all that?
Abaddon was the former god of water and secrets that was eventually dethroned by the other five gods of Tyria. The details of the battle that brought about his downfall are mysteriously absent from history, which is where the fractal Evon Gnashblade promised comes in. While we know nothing about what happened during the battle, the effects it had on the world are well documented and significant. Immediately following this event was the formation of The Crystal Desert and the Realm of Torment. Fans of the original games should know these locations well, and if I were a betting man I'd say the odds of witnessing the creation of these iconic regions through this fractal are pretty good (though no official confirmation on that so far). The whole point of a fractal is to experience and learn about significant events in Tyrian history, so any fan of early Guild Wars lore should keep this in mind when voting.
It was here that Abaddon and his Margonites challenged the power of the Five True Gods, and here that the other gods smote the God of Secrets down, imprisoning him and his following in a Realm of Torment. This once beautiful land is now a crater littered with the trappings of a god. And above it the Mouth of Torment hangs, a weakness in the world, a globe of pure evil, beckoning all to their doom.
In addition to this fractal, Gnashblade is also bringing a new mini game to Southsun Cove appropriately titled Southsun Survival. As expected, this is an adaptation of Hunger Royale that was seen back in the third beta weekend. Despite only being around for a short period of time, the twisted game of survival was an immediate hit. The idea behind Southsun Survival is simple. Hunt your enemy while scavenging for food to quell your degenerating health. Players start out on the same foot, but are soon forced to make decisions that will either send them to the top of the scoreboard or leave them dead on the beach. Will you go straight for the arrows and raise the kill-count early on, or will you dive into the bushes and set traps for unsuspecting participants? Whichever you choose, do it quickly. Death is permanent once the grace period ends, and although running around as a ghost who torments the remaining fighters sounds entertaining, there's nothing better than coming out on top as the sole survivor.
"Kiel for Council!"
Ellen Kiel has been one of the main NPCs of the living story over the past few months. Leading the charge against karka attacks and partly responsible for the capture of the infamous Aetherblade assassin, Mai Trin, she certainly has the people's eternal gratitude. But what about what she's offering in exchange for a seat on the council? Waypoint reduction is fairly straightforward, but what about the Thaumanova Reactor fractal? The landmark north of Rata Sum might be obvious to the asura who dwell in the area, but some bookahs have never even heard of the place let alone the explosion that rocked it not too long ago.
There's not as much history behind this event that we know of, especially compared to the Abaddon fractal, but that doesn't mean it can't be a viable choice.The explosion that caused the chaos we see today was caused by a failed Inquest experiment that occurred below an asuran city. What was this city like before it was thrown out of whack? Why were the Inquest experimenting there in the first place? Why is it significant in history? It's the answers to these questions that could make this fractal worthwhile, and once we get our answers to the past, who's to say we won't learn from them and rebuild the city and its reactor into something greater? ArenaNet was very specific when mentioning the effects the winner will have will not only effect the next month, but also the effect they could have even further down the road. We've (understandably) heard nothing about such plans, specifically, but it's definitely not out of the realm of possibility.
Ellen's mini game keeps with the story theme of the past two weeks. In the Aspect Arena, players fight in teams to capture crystals using a variety of skills, including variations of the three movement skills introduced in the Labyrinthine Cliffs earlier in the month. Crystals turn into points, and the team with the most points will win the match. If the free-for-all aspect of Southsun Survival isn't your thing and you're more into game-types similar to Snowball Arena and Dragon Ball, then this might be the hook that reels you in to Team Kiel.
While these are the areas of the update that will most heavily influence your vote, there will be plenty of other ways to show your support for your chosen candidate. The Candidate Trials is a tiered cooperative mission where Aetherblade pirates will come at you in waves to plunder treasure that you'll eventually be able to claim yourself. Aetherblade weapons are also confirmed enemy drops, so don't hold back there. Two new meta-achievements are also being added that will allow you to have your very own mini Evon or Ellen follow you around for forever and eternity. While only one may be worked on at a time, both will be able to be completed as long as the six sub-achievements have been earned.
This next living story arc is placing a lot of pressure on the Guild Wars community. ArenaNet has clarified that despite suspicions that the losing fractal will appear after the winner has been chosen, that is not the case. Development on the winning fractal will begin once the polls close on August 5th and not a moment sooner. This is our chance to make the living world live up to its name in the strongest way so far, and will no doubt be a key point in the game's history years from now.
Did any of this change your mind, or are you still set firmly for your chosen candidate? What sort of impact will the winner have on the game even after the fractal has been added and the month of August comes and goes? Sound off and let us know what you think!