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Cracks in the Ice

 
Arenanet has announced through the press channels that the next Living Story episode, titled "Cracks in the Ice," will launch on 21 November 2016.  The release includes a new map in the shiverpeaks, and a new nightmare fractal.  The press release is found below.  
 

 


“The next episode of Living World Season 3, A Crack in the Ice, is coming next Monday, November 21. The season follows the aftermath of Heart of Thorns – a flood of unbound magic, the rise of two Elder Dragons, and the birth of the dragon Glint’s child, Aurene. In “A Crack in the Ice,” players will follow that story into the Northern Shiverpeaks, territory of the Elder Dragon Jormag. Along with “A Crack in the Ice” comes the brand-new Nightmare fractal. This five-person, instanced dungeon takes players on an upward climb through a massive tower, which is heavily guarded by powerful abominations and their toxic experiments.”

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Beginning October 18, 2016
Shadow of the Mad King, our annual Halloween festival, returns with ghoulish capers, spooky fights, and holiday fun! Gather together with the citizens of Lion’s Arch to enjoy another year of tricks, treats, and terrible jokes.
 

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Ascent to Madness
Delve into the Mad King’s lair! This devilish boss encounter will bring you face-to-face with King Oswald Thorn himself for a frightful fight. Be on your guard—the diabolical monarch has deadly tricks up his sleeve. Cater to the king’s capricious whims, and you may survive.


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The Mad King's Realm
Brave travelers can go trick-or-treating in the Mad King’s Labyrinth. Face off against the undead armies and festive frights bound in the Mad King’s Labyrinth, open haunted doors to kick off events, and beware the grisly monsters that prowl the maze!
 

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The Mad King's Clock Tower
Race against time in the Mad King’s Clock Tower, Tyria’s most haunted jumping puzzle! Leap over the crumbling remnants of the clock tower, but be on your toes—one wrong move and you may fall into the rising tide of horror. Can you conquer the cruel clock tower?


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Lion's Arch Festivities
Enjoy the spooky atmosphere of Lion’s Arch, which is decorated every year for these traditional festivities. Doors to diverse attractions will dot the map, candy corn vendors will share their wares, and King Thorn himself will appear to tell his horrible jokes and play Mad King Says!


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Tricks and Treats
What would a Halloween festival be without treats to go along with its tricks? Collect frightful rewards—like new weapon skins and miniatures–to keep the spirit alive all year long!


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Beginning on October 18, the annual Shadow of the Mad King event returns with ghoulish capers, spooky fights, and holiday fun! Get ready for another year of tricks, treats, and terrible jokes as the pumpkin-headed former ruler of the Thorn dynasty graces Lion’s Arch with his presence. Collect candy corn, play all of your favorite Halloween activities, and earn sweet new rewards. Keep an eye out for ArenaNet staff members in Lion’s Arch from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Pacific Time (UTC-7) on October 18!

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Rising Flames Release

 
Arenanet released the newest Living World update today, Rising Flames!  Read the full press release below.

Today, ArenaNet has added the next episode of Living World Season 3 to its award-winning, industry-leading MMO, Guild Wars 2. Rising Flames is set in a location that is familiar to fans of Tyria’s lore and players of the original Guild Wars.”
 
In the previous Living World episode, Legate Minister Caudecus revealed himself as the leader of the nefarious White Mantle, but his plans for the organization were thrown into disarray when one of their ancient gods, a mursaat called Lazarus, reappeared and accused him of being a heretic. And the tumult in Tyria burns even hotter with the discovery that the Elder Dragon Primordus is stirring once again. Will players be consumed by the flames?
 
Along with Rising Flames comes a new PvP map called Eternal Coliseum. In this new conquest map, players will fight for the favor of a roaring ravenous crowd inside an arena inspired by the real-world Roman Coliseum. Players attempt to gain control of three capture points. Each conquest map features a unique secondary objective that gives the map additional strategic, tactical depth and can change the tide of battle. At set intervals during the match, artifacts of the gods will become available for capture. Capturing the Sword of Reaping will automatically defeat any downed enemies that you strike and provide a 20% damage bonus to your entire team. Capturing the Shield of Life will give the player that wields it a free resurrection when downed in addition to 5000 bonus health and 100 toughness for the entire team.
 
The release of both Rising Flames and Eternal Coliseum is in keeping with ArenaNet’s stated cadence of providing new Living World content on a 2-3 month schedule. The bundling of a Living World episode, a new PvP map, and updates to other areas of the game such as Fractals is designed to truly give a wide swath of our player base more of what they want and love on a regular basis.

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Out of the Shadows Released


Arenanet has released the first Living World update of Season 3, titled "Out of the Shadows." You can read the update notes here. Below, you can find the impressions of the release from the press demo I was able to partake in.

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On the 21st of July, I had the opportunity to get some impressions on the Living Story Season 3 Episode 1 release, and play through some new content. I was unable to attend the PvP session, but did hear some great details that are coming with this update. Let us begin with the content I did not play.

PvP Updates

I overheard a few developers talking to the press about PvP updates. For starters, the big updates include the fact that queuing is now possible outside of Heart of the Mists, and that the two current beta maps are coming out of beta. Skyhammer has gotten some smaller changes, which I was unable to get details on. Revenge of the Capricorn is a reimagining of Raid on the Capricorn, the old sPvP map that was removed from the game due to the desire to push aquatic combat out of sPvP. PvP seasons will now be continuous, in which the current time periods where no season is active (such as up to this release) will become an off-season, with all the features of the current season system, but without a set time limit or rank reward.

Class Balancing

All the classes in Guild Wars 2 have received an update, as is standard for these update from Arenanet. I was unable to catch many of the changes, but many of the changes and balancing focused on removing certain builds from the current raid meta. I was only able to get a few details on the elementalist, which has had its staff skill 2 (lava font) and tempest overload air severely nerfed in an aim to remove it from the raid meta.

Fractals

Although I was unable to play these, the new Chaos Isles fractal features the anomalies seen in the open world to create an almost dreamscape-like experience. The Chaos Isles show instability within the fractals, with certain existing fractals mashing together into an entirely new fractal.

Story

Since the end of the Heart of Thorns expansion storyline, burials and ceremonies must be had, and celebrations occur throughout Tyria. As you progress through the aftermath, you receive a note from Taimi regarding a strange anomaly. You set out with Desiny's Edge to investigate this anomaly, which brings you to an area of an unstable bloodstone. As you approach the bloodstone in the pact's final airship, the bloodstone explodes (or rather, overloaded by ley energy and the instability caused by the players in the final raid wing), bringing you to the new map with this release, Bloodstone Fen.

Bloodstone Fen

Players of the first Guild Wars will remember Bloodstone Fen. The map, about 1/8th the size of the Silverwastes but more vertical than any other map seen before, features the bloodstone and its instability after the explosion. The map plays on the nostalgia from the first game, featuring more than a few references to the White Mantle, the organization which was initially a protagonist and eventually one of the main antagonist's of the game's original campaign. Justiciar Hablion features as one of the first open world bosses, where he throws you into the sky to discover one of the new feature of the new map, gliding skills. Arenanet discussed their desire to add environment specific skills to maps, and the new mastery allows you to unlock skills for use in Bloodstone Fen. The instability of the ley line energy around Bloodstone Fen, which spawns new items such as leyline updrafts, causes these skills to be extremely powerful. The first skill, a simple pulse, did an average of 2x as much damage against enemies as normal skills. More skills were unlockable, but this was locked for the press demo.

After the Hablion fight, spirits can be seen amassing during the night portion of the map's meta event. The bloodstone explosion has released many sacrificed generations to the bloodstone, and they are uncertain as to how to act. Many events rely on putting them to rest, or damaging them until they remember who they were, and that you are not the "bad guy." This map is one large homage to the White Mantle and the Bloodstone saga, and it seems obvious the story is heading in the direction of the eventual return or revival of the White Mantle, as hinted in by the trailer and the playable portion of the demo.

Story Hints

Only one mission was playable in the press demo that was completable (this particular story mission required a group to advance due to open world champions that have to be killed, which is difficult with one player). However, material provided by Arenanet shows hints that the Mursaat may be on the return. One image in particular which may be discussed is an image showing a heart that perfectly fits within a mursaat armor plate. This is, however, speculation.

In Closing

It was enjoyable to play a very small demo of the incoming PvE content and hear some upcoming changes for the game. As a fan of the Mursaat, this release excited me more than it should! It should be noted that the content outlined in this post was played in an unfinished stage, and changes may have occurred. There is also a lot more content in this release than outlined here. Living Story Season 3 Episode 1 release on the 26th of July 2016, under the name "Out of the Shadows." Back to Top

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ArenaNet has announced that the third season of Living World will be released two weeks from now on July 26th. Here's some of the previous plot points as a refresher:
  • The Elder Dragon Mordremoth, which unleashed its hordes of minions across all of Tyria and all but destroyed the world’s united military force, is dead, but the cost of victory was high. Tyria as a whole has a lot of regrouping to do to figure out how to move forward.
  • Elder Dragons feed on magical energy. When Mordremoth was killed, a burst of that magic flooded back out into the world, and some of it settled into the magical Bloodstone deep in the jungle. There’s an excess of magic now that’s bringing a lot of factions out to try to take advantage of it.
  • The White Mantle, a group of religious zealots who worship an ancient magical race called the mursaat, have been stirring up trouble both in Kryta and in the Maguuma Jungle - the area introduced in Heart of Thorns. The latest raid showed that they were trying to harness the power of the Bloodstone in an attempt to resurrect one of their gods.
  • Taimi, a young asuran researcher, was left in the subterranean city of Rata Novus, a long-lost headquarters for intelligence on the Elder Dragons and how to destroy them. With Zhaitan and Mordremoth already defeated, she’s turning her prodigious intellect towards uncovering the weaknesses of the remaining threats to Tyria.
  • During the course of Heart of Thorns, players found and protected a dragon egg – which is rare enough on its own, but this egg comes from Glint, a former servant of the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik who rebelled against her master and tried to protect the races of Tyria. The future of this egg is a big question mark: will it take after its mother? Did the power released on Mordremoth’s death affect it? Will it be an ally or an enemy of the races of Tyria?
Check out the official blog for any questions you might have regarding the upcoming season.

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06/14/2016 – June 14 Release Notes

RAIDS
  • The victory at Salvation Pass revealed the terrible truth of the White Mantle’s return. Take the fight to the enemy and strike at their heart, deep in the Maguuma Jungle, where unknown dangers and powerful enemies lurk. All is not as it seems in the Stronghold of the Faithful, where the White Mantle’s innermost secrets and dark magic fester. It’s a race against time to stop the plans in motion in this high-stakes, white-knuckle conclusion to the Forsaken Thicket raid.
    Thanks!
    Some members of the following guilds had access to the raid at some stage in development. We’d like to thank them for their time and feedback.
    • [ATT] Attuned
    • [DD] Dragons Descent
    • [EG] Ethereal Guardians
    • [KING] Immortal Kingdom
    • [NA] The Sickest Guild
    • [RAID] Immortal Raiders
    • [RtG] Rise to Glory
    • [SC] Snow Crows
  • Spirit Woods
    • Adjusted Gorseval’s AI to improve its willingness to follow the player with the highest toughness.
    • Fixed a bug that prevented Gorseval’s Rampage pattern from properly resetting in some situations.
  • Salvation Pass
    • A ley-line gliding path will now appear after clearing all of the raid bosses, leading players to Stronghold of the Faithful.
    • Fixed an issue that sometimes caused the cage cinematic to trigger during the Matthias Gabrel encounter.
STRUCTURED PLAYER VS. PLAYER
  • The Heart of Maguuma PvP reward track now includes Chak weapons, Auric weapons, Plated weapons, Bladed armor, and Leystone armor as options in the Mordremoth Cache.
  • The Silverwastes PvP reward track Carapace Armor Box now contains all pieces of Carapace armor instead of just the gloves.
  • Gathering tools can now be equipped when double-clicked in the PvP lobby.
WORLD VS. WORLD
  • The Reward Track and Participation systems are officially out of beta testing!
  • Added the Gift of Battle Item reward track and removed the vendors that previously sold gifts of battle.
  • Daily achievement chests now award Potions of WvW Rewards instead of Experience Boosters.
  • The Outnumbered effect now also grants 50% increased participation gain.
  • Added a new guild hall upgrade to the war room that unlocks a new potion at the tavern that increases WvW reward-track gain.
  • A new reward track has been added that awards the WvW Hero’s weapon skins.
  • The Heart of Maguuma WvW reward track now includes Chak weapons, Auric weapons, Plated weapons, Bladed armor, and Leystone armor as an option in the Mordremoth Cache.
  • The Silverwastes WvW reward track Carapace Armor Box now contains all pieces of Carapace armor instead of just the gloves.
  • The Provisions Master now has a sixth pip that allows players to buy Heart of Thorns™ recipes, sigils, and runes from the Heroics Notary vendor for proofs of heroics and gold.
  • The Max Supply +5 upgrade is now the first Guild Objective Aura upgrade guilds unlock.
  • The Magic Find +20% upgrade is now the last Guild Objective Aura guilds unlock.
  • Updated the Outnumbered effect to no longer list that it grants bonus experience, as experience gain is disabled in WvW.
  • Shield Generator—Force Dome: Stability duration has been reduced from 9 seconds to 6 seconds.
  • Fixed a bug in which trebuchet conditions were allowed to scale based on player stats.
  • The WvW tick timer has been reduced from 15 minutes to 5 minutes.
    • Objective Points per Tick (PPT) has been rebalanced to support the faster ticks.
    • Camps—2 points
    • Towers—4 points
    • Keeps—8 points
    • Castle—12 points
    • This results in slightly more total war score earned from objectives.
  • Reward-track points awarded for participation have also been rebalanced to support faster ticks.
    • Tier 1—25 points
    • Tier 2—60 points
    • Tier 3—95 points
    • Tier 4—125 points
    • Tier 5—160 points
    • Tier 6—195 points
    • This results in slightly more reward-track points earned.
Eternal Battlegrounds
  • Klovan Gully: Fixed a display bug in which the blue “Defend Klovan Gully” event would list an additional event objective.
Alpine Borderlands
  • Fixed a bug that prevented hero challenges from displaying or functioning correctly.
  • Tower Northeast: Fixed a bug that prevented the tower lord’s health from scaling properly.
Desert Borderlands
  • Fixed a bug with the teleporter on the dunes above the Fire Keep.
  • Fixed a bug with automatic blessing at the east Earth Shrine.
  • Fixed a bug with a jump pad on the north side of the Air Keep.
  • Fixed a bug with a floating mortar in the Air Keep.
Obsidian Sanctum
  • Fixed a bug in which players were no longer given immunity while standing at their starting location.
GENERAL
  • Fixed a bug that would cause Mai Trin to teleport to walls.
  • Fixed an issue in which, once selected, the guild music themes “The Music of the Barren Heights” and “The Music of the Golden Chambers” did not play upon reentry to the guild hall. Once a guild in Lost Precipice has selected the theme “The Music of the Barren Heights,” the song will now consistently play first upon entry to the guild hall and then cycle through the songs belonging to its theme set. Once a guild in Gilded Hollow has selected the theme “The Music of the Golden Chambers,” the song will now consistently play upon first entry to the guild hall and then cycle through the songs belonging to its theme set.
  • Added Amalgamated Gemstones as a choice on the Verdant Brink, Auric Basin, Tangled Depths, and Dragon’s Stand Hero’s Choice Chests.
  • Unrest is spreading in Kryta.
BLACK LION TRADING COMPANY GEM STORE
New Items and Promotions
  • A new Phoenix Glider is available for a very limited time in the Style category of the Gem Store for 500 gems.
  • The Heroes Dye Pack includes one of each of the following dye kits: Taimi’s, Glint’s, Lion’s Arch Survivors, Lion’s Arch Rebuild, and Lion’s Arch Commemorative. This can be found in the Style category of the Gem Store for 500 gems.
  • The new Privateer weapon set is now available at Black Lion Weapons Specialists for 1 Black Lion Claim Ticket. Unlike previous weapon sets, these are account bound and cannot be traded once purchased.
  • Crystallized Magic no longer drops from Black Lion Chests. Contracts have returned to normal drop rates.
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In our third video on the design of Stronghold of the Faithful’s first raid boss, the Guild Wars 2audio team grinds, growls, and snarls their way through the creation of the Keep Construct’s creature noises.


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