Last night we managed a first glimpse at the new Bazaar of the Four Winds living story content in Guild Wars 2 (official news item; should be spoiler free).
I started the new content solo so was playing my little level 19 Elementalist, it’s really great to have this stuff doable on such a low level character! He was a bit puny in the various champion fights but otherwise could do anything just as well as a level 80!
Once I’d explored a bit and fought some champions I settled down to looking through the new achievement interface which, as before, is the quest log equivalent in GW2 at present. The new look is certainly clearer, although it’s still no replacement for an actual quest log – but then there are no actual quests in GW2 so that would be redundant, wouldn’t it? ;-)
I got stuck into learning about the three ‘aspects’ and the three movement abilities that we can pickup – they work like the improvised weapons that you can find through the game world. I died a lot at first as it’s just counter-intuitive to jump using an ability rather than space. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be any repair costs for deaths within the zone, at least those from falling, and trust me there are so many opportunities to take a fatal plummet in this place!
The bazaar itself is a stunning piece of design, honestly ArenaNet have pulled it out of the bag once more. The zone mostly centres on jumping puzzles, whether to progress the zone story, collect one type of crystal or to mine another type. If you like jumping puzzles then this update is jumping heaven for sure. The important jumps (for access to the bazaar and story NPCs) are easy, collection ones become increasingly complex – don’t forget to turn off “double tap to evade” in your options if, like me, you have a tendency to evade to your death when creeping along planks…
This update has come along with typically bad timing for me. I have family visiting all weekend and then I’ll have a week with no gaming access. Looking through the achievement roster there’s the no standard meta-achievement (for completing X other achievements, in this case 16). The reward is a mining crystal that regrows for our home instance! Yes, ArenaNet have taken their first baby-steps towards giving us meaningful content for our in-game ‘housing‘.
Rumours on the forums state some achievements have an end date of the 23rd of July, which is when I get back, so it’s looking unlikely I’ll find time to get all 16 done. The same thread does also has a post stating that the next bit of living story will continue this, which offers a ray of hope. I will be pretty darn peeved (to put it mildly) if I miss out on this. Missing out on weapon skins or armour skins I can live with, achievements and titles I can happily skip. But if I miss out on the first permanent addition to home instances, especially one that will fuel crafting recipes, then I’ll be in “temporary content hell” for sure!