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Guild Wars 2 Column: Back to School

By David North on September 03, 2013

Back in April ArenaNet released the Super Adventure Box content in Guild Wars 2.  The content threw players into a virtual world inspired by the great games many of us played in the 80s and early 90s.  Everyone I knew was so obsessed with playing this content, we stopped doing dungeons completely.  It was such a blast and we were so bummed when it ended.  Well get ready to put your jumping skills back to the test as world 2 is coming in Super Adventure Box: Back to School!

World 2 takes players into a world influenced with an Asian style theme.  For those that made it through world one, near the end you faced assassins and fighters. Those same enemies are now going to be your standard opponent through each level.  The theme of fighting animals will make a return however, as ninja owls dive out of trees to steal your baubles, and toads suck you up like a disgruntled Kirby.

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From what we’ve seen so far, the levels take place in an assassin training ground high in the sky above the clouds.  Making very precise jumps is now more important than ever.  Some of the mechanics we’ve seen in normal PvE, such as the jumping pads during the Dragon Bash, make an appearance as flowers that propel you over large gaps.  Clouds can also be used jump to higher locations, but much like the old leafs in zone 1, they begin to disappear rather quickly. Always watch your step!

World 2 is all about being aware of your surroundings.  When you eventually reach some of the buildings in the zone, if you’re not careful and check each doorway, you could be walking straight into a poison dart trap.  Be sure to keep your eyes open because you may even find another path to reach the end of the level.  Secret dig sites and explosive surfaces are also making a comeback, so exploration is key. 

Puzzles are a big part of world 2.  Once players receive a new weapon item called the Glove of Wisdom, they can push around blocks.  Yes, the dreaded block pushing puzzles from games like Zelda will continue to haunt you through Super Adventure Box!  But the glove can also act as a weapon.  If you time it right, you can use it to reflect attacks such as a ninja star, bouncing them back at your enemy.

Now world 2 looks great, but world 1 is still going to be playable for those that are still missing some achievements.  However, there are going to be some changes.  New dig spots have been added, and a new playable mode called tribulation mode.  Now this new mode is for those that want a challenge beyond a challenge.  The levels look normal for the most part, that is until a flower on the ground explodes and kills you.  Also the ground could actually be fake, causing you to fall into a pit of hot lava!  Better yet, big grey clouds often pop up knocking you back, forcing you to take another route.  This mode is unforgiving, and will put your skills and patience to the ultimate test. 


Like the old games, spikes will kill you with even the slightest touch.

The checkpoint is a place a player can take a breather right?  Not in tribulation mode!  The entire party must reach the checkpoint at the same time, or the pipes on the checkpoint will just fall and crush you.  If you are going in with a group, make sure everyone has the same skill level.  If you plan to try tribulation, you must go in understanding that you will die a lot.  How much is a lot?  You will die more times than you thought possible.  If you find yourself among the elite who can conquer the new tribulation mode, a variant of the weapon skins becomes available for you to show off.  Other variants for each conquered zone will also become available upon completion. 


The original weapon set was great, but now you can gain color variants to fit your style.

I loved the first world in Super Adventure Box.  It really brought back some great gaming memories from my childhood.  I even busted out the old NES and played for hours a day because of the SAB.  I think the timing for the release of world 2 is perfect.  Clockwork Chaos was a very serious and intense event, so it will be nice to take a breather and just play something for the fun of it.  The entire Queen’s Jubilee story arc was very cooperation-centric, so that will also translate really well into the new Back to School event for Super Adventure box.  I really wish they would create a Nintendo Power style strategy guide.  I know I’m missing quite a few secrets in world 1.  Oh well, it’s the unforgiving difficulty from the old games that makes this content so great and nostalgia-filled.

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.


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