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"The lost kingdom of Orr lies beneath the ocean waves, an entire civilization swallowed by an ancient cataclysm. For centuries, the depths have lain dormant, those ancient secrets lost. Until now. The Elder Dragon Zhaitan has risen. In its wake, the drowned kingdom of Orr is reborn—and another destroyed. The city of Lion's Arch, for generations a cornerstone of civilization in Tyria, is brutally swept beneath the waves, leaving nothing but ruins. Among the survivors is Cobiah Marriner, a human sailor shipwrecked by the tsunami and stranded at sea. When he is rescued by a ferocious charr, Cobiah knows that he's been plunged into a world forever changed. Now, Zhaitan's undead servants dominate the sea, destroying port after port and slaughtering anything in their path. In the midst of ruin, Cobiah vows to see Lion's Arch rebuilt. Amid the storm of the dragon's rising, Cobiah must become a hero to his crew and an admiral to the pirate fleet, and face the ghosts of his past. Only then will he master the Sea of Sorrows and crush the armada of Orr."

It's been a long time since we've heard anything about the third Guild Wars 2 book, Sea of Sorrows, so when we saw a tweet by Peter Fries about it, we had to immediately check it out. And whadda ya know, the book's cover art has been revealed!

So what do you think? It's been a long time coming, that's for sure. [Click image for larger version.] Back to Top

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For those of you that have worried about the balancing of skills between PvE and PvP, you'll be glad to hear that ArenaNet has plans to continue to split skills as necessary:

So you guys know, we already split some skills. And, what’s most pertinent to the current thread, we plan to do this even more.

When we first shipped, it was awesome to have a lot of the balance be the same between PvE/WvW/PvP. But, as you guys have really started to push the game types to their limits, classes and specs that work in one areas of the game are sometimes ineffectual in others.
Due to this, we’ll have to do more splitting of skills to better balance the various areas of the game.

TL:DR – We already do this, and we’ll be using it even more in order to balance the different areas of the game effectively.
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Free trials are back! ArenaNet has partnered with several gaming sites to give away a massive amount of free trial keys for those that have yet to check out Guild Wars 2. Each site will begin giving away the keys on April 15th, so be sure to check back then! The keys will be used for the following weekend - April 19-21st - so make sure you get your client downloaded before then.

The Guild Wars 2 free trial weekend begins at 12:01 AM PDT on Friday, April 19, 2013 and ends at 11:59 PM PDT on Sunday, April 21, 2013.

Here's a link to all of the sites giving away keys. If you find more, please respond to the thread so we can add them! I'll continue to update this once I find more links. Here's an official post from ArenaNet, wherein they mention that those that participated in the last free trial are able to participate in this one by using their old login information.

Your former free trial account will be active for the April 19-21 event—to prepare, just update your game client by double-clicking the Guild Wars 2 icon on your desktop, or go to https://account.guildwars2.com/and sign in to download and install the game again!
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It's been a long time coming, but ArenaNet has officially launched their new leaderboard system! Not only do we have leaderboards for sPvP, but we also have them for WvW and achievement points:

We want our leaderboards to be more than just a place to stare in awe at the top players in the game—we want to give you a place to see the pulse of the game as a whole and better understand your part in it. To start down this path, we’re launching leaderboards to cover three main categories of play in the game: Player vs. Player (PvP), World vs. World (WvW), and Achievements. We’re starting with the top 100 users in PvP and Achievements, but over the next few weeks we’ll ramp this number up and add some different ways to slice the data to help you get the most relevant information possible.

You can directly access the leaderboards by visiting this link.

ArenaNet says they won't divulge the rating formula, but that it is based on certain criteria, including:
  • Rank – Current position in standings based on PvP rating
  • Wins – Total ranked PvP match wins
  • Losses – Total ranked PvP match losses
  • Win Percentage – Percentage of ranked PvP match wins out of total ranked PvP matches played
Not anything new here - the leaderboards are based on the same world rankings system as before. And as before, we'll continue to have updated rankings each week:
  • Rank – Current position in standings based on world’s rating
  • Rating – World rating based on our implementation of the Glicko-2 algorithm
  • Deviation – Degree of certainty for the current rating. Higher number means more confidence in the rating.
  • Volatility – Degree of expected fluctuation in rating. Lower numbers indicate stable ratings, while higher indicate erratic behavior.
Achievement rankings are based on total achievement scores.

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If you've checked out the Gem Store today, you'd have noticed a couple of new items in the Style tab, specifically new shirts/vests for 200 gems each. For those at work and can't access the store right now, here's some screenshots of the new items (along with the Rider boots and pants):

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In order to address certain exploits, the following changes have been made to summoning Guild Vault Transports:
  • Guild Vault Transports are now unlocked with Economy level 5 instead of Economy level 2. The cost has been increased from 50 influence to 1 Guild Merit and 50 influence.
  • Guild Vault Transports can no longer be summoned in instances.
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Guild Bank
  • We changed the way access to the guild bank is working. For the first 72 hours after creating or joining a guild, you will not be able to deposit or withdraw items/money, or change bag notes. You will still be able to view the guild bank. Within that 72 hour period, you will see red text above the guild stash, and when you mouse over it you will see how much time is left until you get full access to the bank. This change is required to close a potential exploit loophole.
Super Adventure Box
  • Fixed a crash.
  • The purchased candle from zone 3 will now properly award credit towards the Minor in Enhancement Achievement.
  • The whip no longer works on baubles inside locked chests.
  • Fixed a bug with some sounds not properly playing inside Super Adventure Box.
  • The PvP Super Backpack Cover has had its upgrade slot removed to be consistent with other PvP back slot items.
  • Fixed situations where players could gain progress on the Thirst Slayer achievement by using bundle items acquired in personal story instances.
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It has been a month of action, updates, and interviews once again.  Check out our link round up for March 2013, to make sure you have not missed any!

World v.s World...

MMORPG's Interview with Habib Loew: March's WvW Changes

Let’s start with how excited we are to get this patch out. We are really psyched to deliver this content to player and especially the WvW community. So there are two main priorities with this patch: the first is to eliminate Culling, the second is to add in WvW progression for players. The progression allows us to let players feel a sense of advancement past level 80. Also we want to give players some achievements beyond just regular character advancement.

World Ranks FAQ by Matt Witter

Matt Witter, game designer for ArenaNet, has posted a new FAQ to explain the newest addition to WvW: World rankings.

State of the game and updates...

Josh Foreman on Super Adventure Box & Theme Music

Today we have another official video from ArenaNet about Super Adventure Box. This time we have Josh Foreman, creator of the event, talking about how it all came into fruition.

The Evolution of the Living Story

These first couple months of teaser content have allowed us to ramp up to make the long-term Living Story an even fuller and more satisfying experience for you all. As designers have come off other projects and joined us, we've increased the amount of content we’ll be delivering, starting at the end of March.

Guru State of the Game - with ArenaNet dev: Tyler Bearce, Jonathan Sharp, and Karl McLain

Guru's state of the game for March, relating to Player versus Player and World versus World.

IGN: How Guild Wars 2 Plans to Survive.

In terms of PvE, the goal is far simpler; provide more challenging content for those who want it. “I think for players looking for more difficult content, that’s an area where we don’t have as much as I think that we could, and that’s going to be a focus of 2013; taking some of the optional areas and making those more difficult,” Johanson asserts. “It’s really important for us to make sure that that stuff is always a choice. We don’t want to say you have to go do these things, it’s always going to be ‘what experience do you want to have in Guild Wars 2?

Design and Dungeons...

Custom Arena Options

Earlier in the week someone posted on the official forums what they would like to see as default options/permissions for creating custom arenas. Today, Tyler Bearce has confirmed some options that they are already working on internally.

Designing the Living World

In the coming months, you may see the Living World story play out from any number of approaches: activities, dungeons, crafting, or others. You’ll see more holidays along the lines of Wintersday and Halloween, but even those sorts of events have an overall continuity. When Mad King Thorn blew up the lion statue in Lion’s Arch, that actually happened and it took time to repair. Tixx’s inventions live on in the enthusiasm of refugee Malia and her best friend Rex Splinterstorm. We’re all living the events of a present-day Tyria, and everything matters. Every few weeks, you’ll want to know what happens next, and we’re happy to oblige.

Interview with GW2 Dungeon Designer Robert Hrouda by Guild Wars Insider

Also you have to realize that forums can’t dictate what we do. The people who go to forums are a very small percentage, and usually they are going there to discuss a problem. Otherwise the 50 people who post in a popular thread would dictate the direction of the game, and we can’t have that.


Guru's Super Adventure Box Experience

Have you ever visited the Grand Piazza in Lion’s Arch, gazed up at the Lion’s Court, and thought to yourself, “I wish there was a little corner in Tyria that could take me back to a simpler time”? Well, if so, you’re in luck! We were given the supreme opportunity to preview the Super Adventure Box last week, and now we're going to give you all an idea of what can you expect. It's sure to make quite a few of you squirm with nostalgic feels.

Exclusive Q&A: Kekai Kotaki by ZAM

An interview with Kekai Kotaki about his past with Arenanet and Bungie, and how he became a freelancer.

Has 'Guild Wars 2' Become Too Complicated?

When Guild Wars 2 (GW2) came out, I jumped into it enthusiastically and played for several weeks. But life happens, as it does, and I’ve been only able to venture into Tyria intermittently. When I did play, I noticed changes, but I didn’t spend much time examining them. So recently I returned to explore the wealth of new material. And I walked away with the question: Is too much of a good thing still too much?
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Today we have another official video from ArenaNet about Super Adventure Box. This time we have Josh Foreman, creator of the event, talking about how it all came into fruition. Please continue to use this thread for discussion.

Also, Leif Chappelle and Maclaine Diemer give a brief history lesson on making music in the style of Super Adventure Box and the retro games of Yore. Each member of the team focuses on a different aspect of music creation, and are even kind enough to provide reference links for those of you looking to delve deeper into the subject. If you're the type who frequently hums catchy tunes all day long, don't forget that ArenaNet added all of the theme music for SAB to their SoundCloud page!

<iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F85975738&show_artwork=true"></iframe>

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