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As a reminder for those who weren't around last week, simply post a screenshot that fits the theme of the week for a chance to win a custom forum title and eternal glory on the front page. "Likes" can be used to highlight an exceptional image, but don't always equal a win. Each thread ends at 11:59 PM PST every Saturday night.

Week 3 Winner: SZSSZS

"That's better."

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Week 4 Theme: Action shots! Smash a grawl's face in with a hammer, cook the inquest with some fire, or poke an asura with a sword. It's time to channel your inner movie director to capture the most intense action shot (clapperboard not included).

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Cut-Throat Politics



After heading the investigation into the assassination of a Captain’s Council member, the Lionguard Captain Ellen Kiel has joined the race to win the now vacant council seat.

When we caught up with the human in Lion's Arch, the Captain shared her tactics to ensure victory at the polls.


"I’ve stood by the people of Lion’s Arch in good times and bad, defending her from all manner of threat. Now I want to ensure the security of our beloved city in a different capacity, as a member of the Captain’s Council. I’ll need your support to establish a fair trade treaty between Zephyr Sanctum and Lion’s Arch.

If I’m fortunate enough to earn a position on the Captain’s Council, here’s what you can expect from me:
  • I’ll reduce waypoint travel prices for four weeks’ time
  • I’ll support important Fractals of the Mists research into the Thaumanova Reactor explosion by the end of the year
  • I’ll introduce a rotating schedule of activities such as Crab Toss and Southsun Survival.
Come find me in Zephyr Sanctum; let’s work together for a brighter future!"

Some will see this price reduction as a publicly minded act of charity, others as a counter offer to the financial inducement from her rival Gnashblade.

Whatever your opinion, she is a strong candidate, and will give her Charr adversary a run for his money.


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The Real Question is:


Has the Captain done enough to garner your support at the polls, or is she just another power hungry wannabe politician?

Only time will tell, but on the 2nd August if the streets of Lion's Arch are filled with drunken brawling humans, you will know who has won.



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Cut-Throat Politics


In the aftermath of the assassination of a Captain’s Council member, the prominent merchant Evon Gnashblade has made a bid for the dead pirates seat.

When asked what he had to offer Lion's Arch, the cunning Charr, in true cut-throat style, promised to slash prices at the Black Lion Trading Company.

"As owner and proprietor of the Black Lion Trading Company, I have the proven leadership skills and business acumen that is sorely needed on the Captain’s Council. With your support, I will secure a trade agreement with the Zephyrites that benefits us all.

If I am elected to the Captain’s Council, I’ll show my gratitude for your support in the following ways:
  • I’ll slash prices on Black Lion Keys for four whole weeks
  • I’ll sponsor important Fractals of the Mist research into the Fall of Abaddon, to be completed by the end of the year
  • I’ll host a rotation of popular activities like Crab Toss and Southsun Survival.
You can find me in the Zephyr Sanctum, working for the best interests of Lion’s Arch."

It will come as no surprise to anyone that his blatant act of bribery has been welcomed by the general population.


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The Real Question is:


Will you let Evon buy your vote, or has Ellen Kiels won you over with her own golden enticements?

Only time will tell, but on the 2nd August do not be too surprised to see Gnashblades face plastered on every wall in Lion's Arch.



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Just a few minutes ago, Team Paradigm was crowned victorious in the latest European tourney qualifier. As the winner, their five-man team will be flown to Seattle to face off against the North American team during the Penny Arcade Expo on August 31st. If you missed out on these matches, be sure to keep an eye out for the North American qualifier next weekend on August 3rd and 4th.

Details on where to find each stream can be found on the official Guild Wars 2 website.

[source]

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Election Standings - July 26 2013


Arenanet just posted the current standings of the running election between Evon Gnashblade and Ellen Kiel.  Currently, Kiel is leading by 4% over Gnashblade.

The election is part of the Cutthroat Politics update, which runs until August 6.


Early exit polls show that currently Ellen Kiel leads with 52%, while Evon Gnashblade has 48% of the support out of 2,402,278 tokens cast.

Good news if you are supporting ‪#‎TeamKiel‬, if you are supporting ‪#‎TeamGnashblade‬ – you’d better step up your game! ~RB2


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After finding an issue with Keg Brawl, ArenaNet has disabled the mini-game until it has been fixed. Those that queue up for it will be taken to the PvP Lobby until then.

We found an issue with Keg Brawl and had to disable it. When you try to enter a game of Keg Brawl you will be taken to the regular PvP lobby. We will activate Keg Brawl again once we fixed the existing issue. Sorry for the inconvenience. [Source]
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As a reminder for those who weren't around last week, simply post a screenshot that fits the theme of the week for a chance to win a custom forum title and eternal glory on the front page. "Likes" can be used to highlight an exceptional image, but don't always equal a win. Each thread ends at 11:59 PM PST every Saturday night.

Week 2 Winner: Arava

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Ritualist also gets a special mention for making this diving .gif.

Week 3 Theme
  • Cutthroat Politics! Seeing as the update went live earlier today, this week's theme will be to take a screenshot showing your support for your chosen candidate. There are plenty of acceptable methods here, so get creative!
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Two candidates, war hero Ellen Kiel and Black Lion trader Evon Gnashblade, are trying to secure a trade agreement with the Zephyr Sanctum – but neither of them can seal the deal without your support! The new Cutthroat Politics release has arrived, bringing with it new activities, challenges, and exclusive rewards!

LIVING WORLD

Cutthroat Politics

The Bazaar of the Four Winds is in full swing in the Labyrinthine Cliffs, but no one has forgotten the assassination that created a vacancy on the Captain’s Council of Lion’s Arch. War hero Ellen Kiel and prominent merchant Evon Gnashblade both want that empty seat! If one of them can secure a trade agreement for Lion’s Arch with the people of the Zephyr Sanctum, the Captain’s Council will deem it lucrative enough to secure their seat.

And now, after weeks of getting to know Kiel and Gnashblade, the Zephyrites are ready to work a deal. There’s just one catch: they’ll sign the agreement with whomever the people of Tyria support! So the stakes are raised—Kiel and Gnashblade are making promises and providing entertainment to try to garner support. But they need the players’ help. Play their games, support a candidate, and influence the future of Tyria!

The Labyrinthine Cliffs
  • To secure a spot on the Captain’s Council of Lion’s Arch, Evon Gnashblade and Ellen Kiel are trying to work out a trade agreement with the Zephyr Sanctum. Players can drop their support tokens in the containers on the Zephyr Sanctum to help Ellen or Evon in their bid to secure the trade agreement.
  • Each support token turned in will award a support button for the chosen candidate. Using a support button will grant one hour of support to the chosen candidate and allow limited-time achievements to be completed by the player.
  • Players can choose to help Evon or Ellen, alone or with a group, in the Candidate Trials. Players can test their battle skills by facing off against waves of Aetherblade pirates and holding out for as long as they can to earn support tokens and loot, including a rare chance at an Aetherized weapon.
  • To help garner support, Evon is hosting a daring game of Southsun Survival. Players can scheme, kill, and scavenge their way to the top in this new competitive activity. Armed with only a bow and whatever supplies they can find, up to 20 players will face off in a battle to be the last one standing. Players can earn karma and coins for each round played, plus a rare chance at an exclusive back-slot item.
  • Not to be outdone, Ellen is hosting a competitive game in the Aspect Arena. Pick one of the Aspects of Sun, Wind, or Lightning, and face off in teams to collect crystals. Each Aspect will grant players different skills with which to maneuver and fight. Players can earn karma and coins for each round played, plus a rare chance at an exclusive back-slot item.
  • Players can enter the story instance “Audience with the Master” on the Zephyr Sanctum.
  • Players can still participate in Belcher’s Bluff, a new and permanent activity where players drink omnomberry juice competitively and can seek out masters around the world to learn their signature skills. Players can also still challenge other players in a PvP version that can be purchased from bartenders around the world.
  • The fortune scrap vendor is still trading fortune scraps for unique Zephyrite items. Fortune scraps can be found in kite fortunes, which have a chance to drop from all creatures in the game, or can be purchased in the Gem Store.
  • The scavenger hunt in the Labyrinthine Cliffs continues, allowing players to use their mastery of Wind, Sun, and Lightning movement skills to activate Sky Crystals.
  • The bazaar is still in full swing in the Labyrinthine Cliffs. Merchants still have bulk orders of cooking ingredients from all over Tyria.
  • The Zephyrites are still looking to trade various resources (such as ore, wood, candy, and more) for Zephyr Sanctum supply boxes.
  • The Sanctum Sprint continues! Players can still use cunning, agility, and some special skills to navigate this dizzying obstacle course.
Open World
  • Zephyrites are still launching kite baskets into multiple explorable areas in Tyria. The kite baskets contain a chance at quartz (a new resource used for crafting), armor and weapon recipes for the new stat combination, and kite fortunes.
  • Players can still locate a handful of kite baskets at the top of several jumping puzzles throughout Tyria and open them for achievement points.
  • Zephyr Sanctum will be leaving when the Bazaar of the Four Winds ends on August 6.
  • Support tokens for Evon Gnashblade and Ellen Kiel will no longer be accepted at Zephyr Sanctum after 11 a.m. PST on August 5.
Achievements
  • New achievements have been added to the Living World, Support Ellen Kiel, and Support Evon Gnashblade categories that involve participating in Candidate Trials, Aspect Arena, Southsun Survival and showing support while participating in other content.
  • Completing the Gnashblade Supporter meta-achievement awards the player a Mini Evon Gnashblade. Completion of this meta-achievement requires players to complete 6 of the Support Evon Gnashblade achievements.
  • Completing the Kiel Supporter meta-achievement awards the player a Mini Ellen Kiel. Completion of this meta-achievement requires players to complete 6 of the Support Ellen Kiel achievements.
NEW FEATURES AND CONTENT

General

A Player Instrument Volume slider has been added to the Sound Options panel.

World vs. World

Catapult Mastery has been added to the Ranks and Abilities tab.
  • Increases damage done to walls.
  • Gravel Shot now does bleed on hit.
  • Increases radius on all skills.
  • Increases damage on all catapult skills.
  • New skill: Siege Bubble
  • Creates a shield that destroys all projectiles around a catapult.
BALANCE, BUG-FIXING, POLISH

Items
  • Rune of Melandru: Fear duration is now only reduced once by this rune set. The negative stun duration bonus no longer reduces incoming fear duration. This is also true for food consumables that offer a negative stun duration bonus.
  • Rune of the Centaur: Fixed a bug that caused the swiftness internal cooldown to be 15 seconds instead of 10.
  • Flute: This item has been updated to allow players to manually stop a note that is currently playing.
  • Marriner’s Horn: This item has been updated to prevent two notes playing simultaneously.
  • Unbreakable Choir Bell: This item has been updated to prevent combat sounds from triggering during use.
Profession Skills

Posted Image Elementalist (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Magnetic Wave: Added a skill fact for the cripple effect of this skill.
  • Cleansing Fire: Removed the hidden stun-break functionality from this skill.
  • Flame Wall: Fixed the damage skill fact to display the proper damage done per tick.
  • Glyph of Renewal: Reduced the cast time from 4.25-seconds to 3.25 seconds.
Posted Image Engineer (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Launch Ice Mortar: Equipping the Elite Supplies trait will now correctly increase this skill’s recharge.
  • Magnetic Inversion: Added a radius skill fact.
  • Elixir X: This skill now uses the updated version of Rampage.
Posted Image Guardian (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Virtue of Courage: Updated the aegis skill fact to display the proper duration.
  • Tome of Courage/Wrath: Using these elite skills will now drop the player’s currently equipped bundle instead of destroying it.
  • Leap of Faith: Fixed a bug that caused a longer than intended blind when hitting multiple targets.
  • Sword of Justice—Command: Removed the range indicator for this skill, as it was unnecessary.
  • Monk’s Focus: This trait now scales 40% with healing power, up from 10%.
  • Merciful Intervention: This skill’s recharge has been lowered from 80 seconds to 50 seconds. Base healing for this skill has been increased by 48%. Scaling with healing power has been increased to 60% effectiveness, up from 20%.
  • Symbol of Judgment: Increased the spell effect and AoE rings to match the actual radius of this skill for both the base and when traited with Writ of Exaltation.
  • Symbol of Wrath: When traited with Writ of Exaltation, this skill now applies retaliation to the correct radius. Increased the spell effect and AoE rings to match the actual radius of this skill for both the base and when traited with Writ of Exaltation.
  • Symbol of Protection: Increased the spell effect and AoE rings to match the actual radius of this skill for both the base and when traited with Writ of Exaltation.
  • Symbol of Faith: Fixed a bug that caused this skill to hit 3 targets instead of 5 when traited with Writ of Exaltation. Increased the base radius to 180 and a 240 radius when traited with Writ of Exaltation. Increased the spell effect and AoE rings to match the actual radius of this skill for both the base and when traited with Writ of Exaltation.
  • Symbol of Swiftness: Increased the base radius to 180 and a 240 radius when traited with Writ of Exaltation. Increased the spell effect and AoE rings to match the actual radius of this skill for both the base and when traited with Writ of Exaltation.
  • Writ of the Merciful: Fixed a bug so that the healing area provided from this trait will correctly scale its radius with the Writ of Exaltation trait.
Posted Image Mesmer (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Null Field: Reduced the recharge to 40 seconds.
  • Signet of Domination: Increased the stun duration to 3 seconds.
Posted Image Necromancer (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Damage taken while in death shroud will now overflow to the necromancer’s health pool if the damage taken is greater than the remaining life force.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the necromancer to take increased damage from direct attacks while in death shroud.
  • Necromancer—Dark Path: Fixed an issue that caused this skill to strike enemies further than 1200 distance away.
  • Shadow Fiend—Haunt: When this attack hits an enemy, it will grant the necromancer 10% of their life force.
  • Ghastly Claws: The total life force granted from this skill has been increased from 10% to 12%.
  • Spectral Armor: Incoming hits now grant 8% life force; has a 1-second internal cooldown.
  • Spectral Walk: Incoming hits now grant 2% life force; has a 1-second internal cooldown. This spectral skill now grants life force while Spectral Armor is active.
  • Spectral Grasp: This skill now grants 15% life force (up from 10%).
  • Mark of Blood: The base radius of this skill has been increased from 120 to 180.
  • Chillblains: The base radius of this skill has been increased from 120 to 180.
  • Putrid Mark: The base radius of this skill has been increased from 120 to 180.
  • Reaper’s Mark: The base radius of this skill has been increased from 120 to 180.
  • Greater Marks: This trait has been moved to the Master tier.
  • Spiteful Vigor: This trait has been moved to the Adept tier.
  • Terror: Reduced the damage by 17%. Fixed a bug so this trait now checks for the torment condition as well.
Posted Image Ranger (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Entangle: Updated the damage and bleeding skill facts to properly display their actual effects.
  • Rapid Fire: This skill now applies vulnerability on each hit.
  • Hunter’s Shot: This skill no longer applies vulnerability on each hit, but now grantss the ranger stealth for 3 seconds.
  • Point Blank Shot: Increased the range from 600 to 900.
  • Maul: This skill now applies vulnerability instead of bleeding.
  • Counterattack—Crippling Throw: This skill can now be used while moving. Increased the cripple duration to 5 seconds.
  • Whirling Defense: This skill now grants 4 seconds of retaliation for the duration of the skill.
  • Call of the Wild: This skill is now a blast finisher.
  • Remorseless: This trait now reapplies Opening Strike when the ranger gains stealth or kills an enemy.
Posted Image Thief (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Poison Tip Strike: Fixed the skill fact for poison so that it displays the correct duration.
  • Tripwire: This skill no longer indicates that it has a range.
  • Thieves Guild: This skill now displays a duration skill fact.
  • Tow Line: Increased the skill-fact range to 900 to match the actual skill range.
  • Tactical Strike: Fixed the damage skill fact to display the proper amount of damage done.
  • Shadow Strike: This skill now applies 2 stacks of torment for 5 seconds.
Posted Image Warrior (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Rampage: This elite skill now also provides 20 seconds of swiftness.
  • Smash: This skill now causes a 2-second cripple. Increased the maximum number of targets to 3.
  • Bash: This skill no longer causes cripple. It now causes 5 stacks of vulnerability for 5 seconds. Increased the maximum number of targets to 3. Fixed a bug so that this skill properly displays in the attack chain.
  • Uppercut: This skill no longer causes vulnerability; it now dazes the target for half a second. Increased the maximum number of targets to 3. Fixed a bug so that this skill is properly displayed in the attack chain.
  • Dash: This skill no longer knocks back the player’s target. Reduced the recharge to 6 seconds. Increased the damage by 100%. Cleaned up the animation so that it will hit the target more quickly when used at close range.
  • Throw Boulder: This skill now causes a 2-second stun. Increased the damage by 65%. Increased the projectile velocity by 50%.
  • Seismic Leap: This skill has replaced Stomp. It is now a ground-targeted, 2-second AoE knockdown with a 600-unit range.
  • Bull’s Charge: Cleaned up the animation so it will hit the target more quickly when used at close range.
  • Staggering Blow: Fixed an issue that caused players to stop in place after using this skill.
  • Signet of Might: The activated unblockable buff now lasts for 5 strikes.
  • Impale: This skill now applies torment instead of bleeding. Two stacks of torment are now applied upon the sword’s impact.
  • Mending: Reduced the recharge to 20 seconds. Decreased the base heal by 6%. Scaling with healing power has been decreased by 20%. This skill now removes 3 conditions.
  • Healing Signet (Passive): Reworked the formula that this passive heal uses. At level 80, this skill goes from 392 healing per 3 seconds to 467 healing per 3 seconds with 1500 healing power.
  • Healing Surge (Stage 0 Heal): Increased the base heal by 12%. Scaling with healing power has been decreased by 10%.
  • Healing Surge (Stage 1 Heal): Increased the base heal by 11%.
  • Healing Surge (Stage 2 Heal): Increased the base heal by 19%. Scaling with healing power has been increased by 25%.
  • Healing Surge (Stage 3 Heal): Increased the base heal by 16.5%. Scaling with healing power has been increased by 50%.
  • Rush: Cleaned up the animation so that this skill will have a smoother transition when approaching the target.
  • Heightened Focus: This trait now applies the appropriate crit chance per adrenaline level.
  • Berserker’s Power: This trait now applies the appropriate damage increase per adrenaline level.
BLACK LION TRADING COMPANY GEM STORE

New Items and Promotions

The Black Lion Chest now has a common chance to drop Black Lion Ticket Scraps and a rare chance to drop Black Lion Claim Tickets, which can be redeemed for Aetherblade weapon skins. Players can visit a Black Lion Weapon Specialist to preview Aetherblade weapon skins. Black Lion Chest Keys can be purchased in the Consumable category for 125 gems each or 5 for 450 gems.
  • Collect ten ticket scraps and turn them in for a whole ticket.
Aetherblade weapon skins have been added to the Black Lion Weapon Specialist. For two weeks only, Aetherblade weapon skins cost only one Black Lion Claim Ticket! After August 5, Aetherblade weapon skins will cost their regular price of 5 Black Lion Claim Tickets. All Aetherblade weapon skins are soulbound on use and can be traded until used.

Election Support Bundles can be used to help players support Evon Gnashblade or Ellen Kiel in their campaign to be elected to the Captain’s Council. Each support bundle contains a buff that will double the players’ votes cast for 30 minutes and display five banners that can be placed to visually show the players’ support in the world. Support bundles are available in the Consumable category for 125 gems each or 5 packs for 500 gems.

Improvements
  • Black Lion Chest Keys are now a rare drop from the Black Lion Chest. Most key drops have been replaced by Black Lion Ticket Scraps. This guarantees progress toward a reward rather than a simple retry.
  • Tickets and ticket scraps will continue to drop from the Black Lion Chest and can be used for select future weapon sets.
  • New weapon skins purchased with a Black Lion Claim Ticket are now tradable until used.
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Recently, Regina Buenaobra sat down with Ree Soesbee for a quick Q&A session the Captain’s Council. Here's a snippet, but you can read the full thing on the official site:

Q: What exactly is the Captain’s Council?
Ree: Leadership in Lion’s Arch falls to a group of individuals known as the “Captain’s Council.”

When Lion’s Arch was rebuilt after the great flood caused by the rising of Orr, it was led by the men and women whose ships were the strongest and fastest; the captains who could best defend the city against the minions of Orr. Over the years, as the new Lion’s Arch grew larger and more stable, the Captain’s Council became more of a system of governance than merely an alliance of powerful crews.

The Captain’s Council is led by a Commodore, a member whom the council has elected to be their primary leader. The Commodore remains in the city, governing Lion’s Arch from day-to-day and coordinating the various captains of the council. The Captain’s Council is still comprised of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals in the city, but now that council has been broadened to include merchants and other citizens with a vested interest in Lion’s Arch.

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ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 Invitational and Regional Qualifying Tournament registration page is live today. Last week they also posted an overview of the tournament, its schedule and prizes, how to register for the tournament itself, and more, so be sure to check it out if you haven't yet!

Schedule
Regional Qualifying Tournaments
Hosted and administered by Mist League
  • European Tournament: July 27-28, 2013
  • North American Tournament: August 3-4, 2013
Invitational Tournament
  • PAX Prime Weekend – August 31, 2013
  • Renaissance Hotel, Seattle, WA
Prizes
Regional Qualifying Tournament
The registered first-place teams from the North American and European regional qualifying tournaments will each receive:
  • Team placement in the Guild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament on August 31 at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle, WA
  • Airfare for five to Seattle, WA
  • Hotel accommodations (two rooms per team)
  • Five four-day passes to PAX Prime 2013
  • Studio tour of ArenaNet
Invitational Tournament
The top two teams in the Guild Wars 2 Invitational Tournament will receive the following prizes:
  • First place: $7,500 cash prize
  • Second place: $2,500 cash prize
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