The last time the Festival of the Four Winds was an active event in Guild Wars 2 was in 2014 and it served as a lead in for Season 2 of the Living World. The Zephyrites, as we discovered through the course of Season 2, played a pivotal part in everything which happened not only during that season but also everything which has happened since then. One of the most important duties the Zephyrites had was to protect Aurene’s egg. As such they are indelibly tied to everything she does because without them her egg might not have survived all those years. All of this came at a great cost to them and we haven’t seen or heard anything of them since… until now.
The Festival of the Four Winds has long been one of my favorite holiday events, only surpassed by Dragon Bash, so finally having this festival comeback is a real highlight for me. Since I like the story and characters of Guild Wars 2 I was curious to see how the Zephyrites have been fairing since the Master of Peace died and the egg was taken away from them. They lost pretty much everything with the Season 2 storyline. Thankfully they seem to be doing well for themselves and have managed to rebuild well. Although one thing stood out as odd with them.
At the top of the cliffs near the airship there’s an interesting tribute to Aurene. The top two paragraphs seem overall positive and hopeful, but then the bottom half just seems sad. Alas is an expression of sorrow, grief, or longing and it feels out of place here. What could they be feeling these emotions regarding? Are they sad their duty has passed? Do they miss having the purpose of protecting the egg? Maybe they know something about what will be Aurene’s fate and are sad about that? Afterall they were tasked with making sure Glint’s legacy survived and the Master of Peace was able to enter her lair. It’s perplexing but there’s so little to go on here. After the events of the last story chapter this short bit of text has filled me with even more apprehension for our not so little anymore dragon friend.
Additionally, with the return of the Festival of the Four Winds some of the best activities in the game have also returned. I’m most excited for the return of the Aspect Arena. For anyone who has never played it the Aspect Arena is a PvP fight where each player only has 100 health and all utility, healing, and elite skills are locked. Each team has access to the three elemental crystals and each crystal grants 5 abilities based on the crystal used. So, the wind crystal will give you five abilities based on wind. These are the only skills which are available for use during the match, and things often get hectic and fun. You can earn points by killing players but the best way to earn points is by grabbing a crystal which spawns out in the arena and take it back to your base, this grants 50 points. I really like how this is a match-up where everyone is on equal footing in terms of gear, health, and skills. Also, all the aspects have their uses and learning the best use of each of them is a ton of fun. Sadly, there’s still no ability to group up with friends to queue for Aspect Arena.
Also, there are some races available in the Labyrinthian Cliffs area. The Flying Dolyak race is not new but it has been tweaked a bit from how it was in the past. If you haven’t done this event you really should, or at least stand around and watch as dozens of small dolyak calves run past using the various aspect crystals to move around. It’s really a sight worth seeing and would probably light up anyone’s day. New this year there’s also the Skimmer Slalom which takes place down by the docks and is, unsurprisingly, a race on Skimmer Mounts. As always with mount races anyone who doesn’t own their own skimmer can rent one to participate. The skimmer is generally an undervalued mount, because most of the time it’s slower than the other mounts, so it is cool to see them showcased here.
Concurrent with the Festival of the Four Winds we also have the Crown Pavilion once again active. As always, the Queen’s Gauntlet is fun but there’s also been some additions here. The normal base fights with the different tiers of difficulty and eventually leading to a fight with Liadri, these fights haven’t changed and are still as much fun (or as frustrating) as they used to be. What is new is five bosses which become available after you successfully beat the original bosses. These new bosses can be fought in any order and have a higher difficulty scaling. The gauntlet is also a great gathering place for people to meet and cheer each other on, which really adds to the atmosphere of everything. Even if you don’t want to participate in the fights I highly suggest checking it out at the very least as a spectator. Ooh! Maybe next year we could have a spectator mode for Gauntlet? That’d be really cool.
Unfortunately, the Boss Blitz hasn’t aged well and is still suffering from the same problems it suffered during the last festival. Boss Blitz takes place on the bottom floor of the pavilion and basically players run around killing tons of mobs and a few bosses. The first problem is finding a map where people are actively working on it because these are not meant for soloing. Maps fill up quickly and finding a group can often be a real pain. The second problem is once you find a group often they will be running around as one big zerg. This is a problem because doing this scales everything up drastically and slows the entire process down. Look, I know everyone wants to kill every boss and get all the loots but this method of doing things only slows everything down for everyone. Please, split up the groups. In the long run it’s better for everyone involved.
That’s about all I have for this week, everyone go out and enjoy this event it as it ends on August 14th. There’s a ton to explore in the Labyrinthine Cliffs now that we have gliding and mounts available so go crazy and have fun exploring the whole area!