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When we first announced the ascended tier of items, it was our intention that these items bridge the time and effort gap that it took players to get Exotic gear vs. Legendary gear. And since the release of the Fractals of the Mist and the infusion system, we’ve been monitoring player feedback, the economy of the game and the investment that building up a set of agony resistance gear requires. With the Wintersday build we will be making some changes to help those trying to attain their agony resistance gear.
  • Zomorros now will require 5 skill points to create an infusion down from the original 50.
  • The drop rate for Passion Flowers will double to help bring the overall cost of infusions down.
  • Increased the quantity of Vials of Powerful Blood, Vicious Fangs, and Elaborate Totems from containers.
We’ve made these changes because our goal is to make infusions more affordable for players and to help strengthen our economy. As with all updates, we will continue to monitor your feedback and the effects these changes have on the economy.

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Wintersday Timeline Three new activities in LA (starts Dec 14 and last until Jan 3)
  • All three activities can be accessed via the mystic forge in LA, which is transformed into a giant snow globe.
  • Winter Wonderland – Brand new timed jumping puzzle, hard but less harsh than Mad King’s Clock Tower. Three different entrances, and frostbite to endure (damage over time, player is kicked out if they take too long). Puzzle is not instanced but the three difference entrances and wide path should eliminate some of the visibility issues with other players.
  • Snowball Mayhem – Brand new PvP Map, a capture the flag map. Players grabbing presents and bring them back to base. Players get to pick between three classes: Supporter, Scout and Heavy Gunner, each with unique skills. In addition, each profession also get one profession  specific skill. You get to throw snowballs, freeze other players in place, and use map based power ups.
  • Bell Choir: Three players team up to play three part harmony holiday songs or create their own. Players will be hitting notes as indicators come flying at them – i.e. Guitar Hero. Each song starts with a perfect score of 100 and every note you miss detracts from your score. There are several new Wintersday themed songs, as well as the Guild Wars 2 theme, and Fear Not This Night to play.
  • Visit Toymaker Tixx in LA once during the three week period to get a special toy that won’t appear in GW2 again.
City Tour & Toypocalypse (starts Dec 15)
  • In each city, Toymaker Tixx’s Golem Airship will reveal a special instance called Toypocalypse themed towards the city.
  • Every city has their own version of Toypocalypse gets more engaging/harder with each city.
  • Each instance will scale everyone to L80, it is a 5m instance that is designed to take 30m to 1hr to complete depending on group organization.
  • Tixx will reward players with blueprints unique to that race after instance completion. In addition, mobs will drop the crafting materials required by the blueprint.
  • If you miss out on a city, wait till Dec 20 where all the instances can be accessed via Lion’s Arch via a drop down menu.
  • Horde mode meets tower defense meets GW2 – you will face waves and waves of runaway toys, pick up resources to set up defenses (i.e. catapults), and keep gift-bearing dolyaks safe.
  • Players will have access to unique holiday themed weapons to combat waves of malfunctioning toys trying to assault Tix’s friendly Pack Dolyaks.
  • Toypocalypse will be hot joinnable through an activity server (i.e. sPvP maps)
Crafting & misc activities
  • 275 new crafting recipes, not all are themed around the holiday.
  • Craftable skins that are much more accessible and attainable. Weapons thremed after the weapons used by Tixx’s Toys
  • Snowmen to build throughout the world (similar to Pumpkin Carving in Halloween)
  • Presents fall from the sky all over Tyria except for Orr – boxes of gifts, goodies, and toy-making materials.These presents will spawn mini events when opened (i.e. similar to haunted doors in Halloween).
Black Lion goodies
  • New skins in the stores, different from the craftable ones.
WvW & sPvP
  • Siege items themed after Winterday such as ballistae that shoot candy canes.
  • sPvP themed finishers.
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Another week, another batch of leaderboard updates. Did you make the cut this time around?

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Over in the land of the official forums, Jason King has posted an introduction to ArenaNet's Live Response Team. The basic idea of this small group of developers is to address and fix a good portion of the bugs found in the game world, as well as fix exploits and monitor player concerns in the forum and game. He overviews the process of how a game bug or exploit goes from "submitted" to "fixed", which includes determining the severity of the problem, reproducing it, handing it off to the appropriate member to determine a fix, then finally dousing it in harsh quality assurance tests. The time-consuming process is emphasized often, as great care goes into making sure no other bugs are introduced as a result of another bug's fixing.

Another interesting note is the mention of monthly achievement improvements. While most of the content addition notes are kept "hush hush", it's mentioned that the goal to increase these types of small changes will become possible once the game is clear of major bugs.

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Another week, another batch of leaderboard updates. Did you make the cut this time around?

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Mike Lewis, security coordinator for ArenaNet, has just posted a new blog article on combating the bot issue in Guild Wars 2. The article states that ArenaNet has banned over 34,000 bot accounts in November alone, but they have noticed a decrease in botting reports - in October over 2,000 were reported every hour and now they receive about 20 reports per hour.

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I’d like to briefly outline the steps that we have taken to shut down botting.

Collecting and analyzing data is very important to us at ArenaNet. Data is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal against bots. We’ve gathered massive amounts of information about the habits of both normal players and automated bot players. We contracted a team of data specialists to help us build comprehensive tools that comb through this data and find effective ways to single out and terminate bot accounts. Automating this process has been a major focus of the ArenaNet security team, and we’re now seeing the considerable fruits of this labor.

Another way we identify and combat bots is through manual observation. Our GM staff is equipped to monitor the game around the clock and detect bots from within the game itself. We have a considerable task force assigned to patrolling the world and eliminating bots, as well as helping us continue to improve and refine our automatic detection tools.

Last but not least, we’re in a good position to monitor and investigate bot reports as they arrive from players. Aided by our analysis tools and strengthened by manual investigation as necessary, GMs are able to react quickly and efficiently to bot reports and terminate offending accounts in short order.
Not only does Mike outline the process of removing bots in the game, but he also thanks the community for helping out by reporting suspicious activity in-game. You can read the full article here.

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Do you wish there was an easier way to keep up with the Wintersday schedule this year? Well, Naima Omadara has a solution for you! You can now use this lovely wallpaper he/she created to keep track of event dates and times. For the full image, please see the original thread and make sure to give your thanks!

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Today, Gaile Gray has posted ArenaNet's new account restoration process:

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We’re pleased to tell you that we are launching our Account Restoration Tool (ART) today. With that tool, we will be able to restore qualifying accounts that were compromised on or after December 1, 2012.
From the FAQ
How does Support conduct a restoration? Agents will:
  • Verify that the person requesting the restoration is the original owner of the account.
  • Confirm that the request is for an account compromised after December 1, 2012.
  • Review account history to verify that the account was hacked by a third party.
  • Check account “snapshots” or saved states.
  • Research other accounts involved and take action as appropriate.
  • Restore (roll back) the account, when appropriate.
How far back do you go to restore an account? We seek a restoration date that is as close as possible to the date of a verified account compromise that took place after December 1, 2012. The account snapshot may have been saved a few hours prior to the compromise or it may date from a period substantially prior to the event.

Can you use the Account Restoration Tool to restore a specific character or item? No, the entire account will be restored to its previous state; all progress and acquisitions after that date will be lost.

Can I pick the date of my restoration? No. The agent will identify the saved state or snapshot closest to the compromise incident.

Will I get everything back? Your character, items, and wealth will be exactly as they were in the saved stage/snapshot. However, you will lose progress and items that you acquired between the time of the snapshot and the time of the compromise. For example, if you were hacked on February 10th and the most recent saved state is February 5th, the account will lose anything acquired between February 5th—the restore point—and February 10th.

How long does it take to conduct an account restoration? The process takes only a short time, but because the research and verification process is time-consuming, we ask that you allow several days for us to complete the restoration.

Is there a limit on account restorations? We offer one restoration during the lifetime of a Guild Wars 2 account. To safeguard your account, please be sure you use the best security processes, as outlined in this article.

Account Restoration Tool Quick Facts
  • The account will be reverted to its exact condition in the account snapshot. Characters, inventory, achievements, and wealth will reflect their state on the date and time of the restore point.
  • Individual characters or items cannot be restored; the ART operates on the account as a whole.
  • Account restoration does not affect any serial codes that were applied to an account. You would use the same serial code to verify your account ownership in the future.
  • Account restoration is only for an account that was compromised by an unauthorized person. We do not restore accounts impacted by scamming, erroneous gem purchases, accidental deletions, etc.
  • Shared accounts are ineligible for restoration.
  • Accounts involved in the use of a third-party program are ineligible for restoration.
  • Restorations do not impact guild banks.
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Is your mind looking for a creative outlet? Do you punch your screenshot key more often than you kill your enemies? Are prizes your thing? Great! Then you're definitely going to want to participate in this screenshot contest!

A single entry consists of a series of screenshots gathered from Guild Wars 2 and placed together in order to create a story or something similar. Think of it as a comic strip of sorts, though it doesn't have to been exactly like one you'd find in the newspaper or comic book. Keep in mind that a good deal of the submission is up to you, creatively. You can make a poem about Wintersday, a story about your asura's first time in The Grove, or something a little less traditional. All you have to do is remember a few simple guidelines.
  • Screenshots must be taken from Guild Wars 2. No concept art, etc.
  • You are allowed to build on screenshots (text, filters).
  • A single submission must have a minimum of two panels, and a maximum of 10.
  • Be creative!
The deadline for this contest is 11:59 PM PST on Friday, December 14th, 2012.

Prizes
In order to win the first place prize, you simply need to have the most favorable entry. Beyond the single winner of the first place prize, we will also pick three honorable mentions. You can find the prize list below. Once the winners have been chosen, we will place *every* entry in a public gallery for everyone to enjoy once the contest has passed.

First Place (1)
  • 2,000 gem card (North America only)
  • Custom forum title
Honorable Mentions (3)
  • "Creative Quaggan" user title
Submitting an Entry
All you have to do is post your contest submission in this thread. We will announce the winner and honorable mentions publicly once they have been chosen, then I will contact the appropriate members for prize distribution details.

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Another week, another batch of leaderboard updates. Did you make the cut this time around?

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