Over the past weekend I got the chance to play through some of the Dragon Bash content with the ArenaNet developers. Guild Wars 2 has already featured some holiday events, and Dragon Bash shows what the team has learned from the past. I was really impressed with what I saw, but I think the most impressive thing was how it made me remember something from the original. Of course I’m talking about the original Dragon Festival from Guild Wars Factions.
Back in the days of the original Guild Wars, there was a holiday event called the Dragon Festival. It was this huge massive festival held for the people of Cantha. It celebrated the accomplishments of the people, and also to help unite an entire empire in a time of hardship. It really was exactly what the people of Cantha needed.
The Dragon Bash is way different. While the Dragon Festival was about celebration, the Dragon Bash feels more like a distraction for the people of Tyria. It really focuses on citizens bashing and taking out their anger in some way or another. Think about it, the fair citizens of the world have been attacked by the undead and dragons. Many have even lost their homes. I don’t know about you, but if I lived in Tyria, I would probably have enough rage and anger to turn into the Hulk. While the Dragon Bash wasn’t created to unite an empire, I still think it’s just what the people of Tyria need at this point.
Even though the Dragon Bash is so different from the Dragon Festival, there’s a lot of throwback to it. First off there are the fireworks. There are a ton of them! Expect players to give off their own little shows. Though it’s a simple concept, when the fireworks go off they display some very impressive animations, including a huge dragon that sores around then dives right at you! My guess is someone was watching Lord of the Rings when they were working on this update.
Rollerbeetle racing was a huge activity in the original Dragon Festival. Sadly I can’t say it’s made a comeback. I did bug them about it though, as I do every time I play with the devs. Instead we get something new called Moa Racing. Players can bet on some racing Moa birds to try and win a few extra coins. You don’t get to control the Moas, you just act as an audience member. If you’re lucky, you may be able to win yourself a new Helmed Racing Moa mini pet!
Like the previous holiday events, the city of Lion’s Arch is decorated to fit the theme of the festivities. The best part may be the giant holographic Shatterer Dragon that flies around the city. The dragon will even land on buildings to watch the citizens as they laugh fearlessly at him. It’s a pretty nice touch. I can’t forget to mention the Mystic Forge. As usual it also gets a huge cosmetic change, taking the form of a dragon that has energy flowing through its body. It might be my favorite Mystic Forge skin yet.
Lion’s Arch isn’t the only thing changing its look. Players will also get a chance to sport a fierce dragon style. The cool new helm skin, known as the Horns of the Dragon, can be given to any armor type, so even us magic users can look tough! But you can only get it if you're present for the big fireworks displays that will take place over this coming weekend, so be sure to log in and attend! Aside from the new helm skin, new weapons are featured, and I have to say these things look amazing. They really bring me back to the Dragon festival, as serpent style dragons weave around to form mighty blades and bows! Every weapon type is represented, and if you’ve ever played Guild Wars Factions, these weapons will make you want to log in just one more time.
While the old Dragon Arena Game was fun in the original Dragon Festival, Dragon Ball is a more updated take on the dodge ball style game play! Even if you still haven’t been bitten by the PvP bug, Dragon Ball is fast paced and simplified so you can just jump in and start bringing the pain. While playing I at first got a little confused. This game feels like Quake, and that’s a good thing! The fights are super fast-paced. Most matches will probably last only 10 minutes. There are also these neat platforms that allow you zip back and forth through the map. This will allow you to do some crowd control and get to new abilities scattered throughout the map, so there’s plenty of opportunities for strategy. The competition is going to be fierce in this one. Wish it was staying around an sPVP map.
All in all Dragon Bash is going to be a ton of fun. It really draws influence from the original Dragon Festival, but fits into this new Living World of Tyria. While we will all probably be spending most of our time playing some Dragon Ball, there’s a whole lot more coming in the future. Let's just say the party in Lion's Arch is just the beginning of this update, so stay tuned! I wish I could tell you all the juicy details but for now, kick back, bet on some Moas, and enjoy the first part of the Dragon Bash!
David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them! If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.