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Before the Patch - Breaking the Ice

By Alexander Wilkie on November 20, 2016 | Columns | Comments

Before the Patch - Breaking the Ice

As we head in to another exciting chapter of the Living World Season 3, it’s time to look at what we can expect from November 21st update, A Crack in the Ice. As most Guild Wars 2 players are already aware, this release will come with the next instalment of Tyria’s war against the Elder Dragons, and is expected to take us deep in to the frozen northlands where the icy breath of Jormag awaits us.

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Delving in to the far northern Shiverpeaks is a dream come true for some veteran players, who have already explored this frozen wilderness in the Eye of the North expansion for Guild Wars 1. For players who have not experienced the Eye of the North expansion, this was where we first met The Destroyers, who were emerging from the Depths of Tyria led by The Great Destroyer. It’s possible that we will see this connection of the Destroyers and the Icebrood, tying in neatly with our previous story encounter which heavily featured the Destroyers and the foreboding hints, “Two Dragons at once. We must kill them all before any one grows too powerful.”

The zone appears to be a face off against familiar foes, with the Sons of Svanir, Icebrood and Grawl featuring heavily in the trailer. We do however see some hints of Vine touched and potentially Shadow touched Icebrood. Many of the textures and areas of the map look very familiar to existing places, with recycled Sons of Svanir homesteads and Icebrood crystals, so it will be interesting to see how Arenanet has put a modern spin on what looks like a familiar snowbound map. A big hope is that we get to see more of the Kodan, and the devastation that has forced them to flee from this area, who could be our potential allies as we venture forth to the wilds.

With the trailer so heavily focused on the new map and facing an aggressive Jormag as he ramps up his activity in the mountains, many players are left wondering about some of the story plots left open from the last release. A new baby dragon, Aurene, sits in Tarir, surrounded by Exalted protectors, but after the destroyer attack on the hatchling, can we really be sure she is safe? Lazarus has joined our side- or so he says- will he be on joining us in the frozen north to confront the rising threat of Jormag?  And of course, player favourite Rytlock Brimstone has been taken away to face question at the hands of his Legion. With the brutal and militaristic nature of Charr society, will we be needed to save the first Revenant from his superiors? As long as we don’t get a mail from Rytlock signed ‘Later, cub.”

Aside from the new chapter, A Crack in the Ice brings with it some other features that are sure to catch the eye of a few players. A new Legendary weapon and Fractal are coming bundled in with this release.

The Fractal has given fresh fuel to the hype train of many veteran players. The Nightmare Fractal lets us once more fight our way through the Tower of Nightmares, a huge part of the Living World Season 1 storyline. The fractal trailer shows off numerous mechanics and dangerous enemy attacks, with the toxic army flexing its might in our faces. It is definitely clear between this and the Chaos fractal that Arenanet want to add in more mechanics to their fights, rather than being all about ‘stack in a corner, DPS, collect loot’. This announcement has seen players crying out for a return of a remastered version of the first Living World, which Arenanet has made very clear will be a huge work load for them if undertaken.

A new legendary, Shooshadoo, has also been teased at, a giant fishbowl shield with an adorable (if you’re in to that kind of thing) baby Quaggan in residence. The announcement of a new legendary is fantastic news for players, who have seen two legendary weapons now where none were expected. Although they no longer come with a ‘journey’ as other legendary weapons do, it is a welcome change from the ‘no new legendaries’ we were lead to expect. This does seem like the kind of weapon that could have a wonderful tale behind it, much like our recovery of the tiger cubs with Chuka and Champawat, players could have rescued this tiny Quaggan, carrying it around for safety (as safe as one can be when being used as a weapon by a giant bloodthirsty norn) in their flamboyant yet buoyant shield. Whether a Quaggan shield will be an eye catcher or an eye sore for you, the new legendary still comes as welcome news and hope for the future of legendary weapons.

So slip on your snow shoes, grab your Glacial Gauntlets, rustle up your rucksacks and prepare for an adventure in to the frozen wastelands of the Far Shiverpeaks! North! To Vabbi The Shiverpeaks!

Also, don’t forget, the 50% off sale on Heart of Thorns ends the 22nd of November! Get in fast to experience this epic new content for yourself. 

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