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Before The Patch - Head of the Snake

By Alexander Wilkie on February 06, 2017 | Columns | Comments

Before The Patch - Head of the Snake

The first story release of 2017 is right around the corner, with the next Living Story episode, Head of the Snake, and a new raid wing both expected with the upcoming patch. This will be the first time a raid wing will release side by side with a story episode, and- alongside other parts of the release- will be one of the biggest individual content updates to the game to happen in quite some time. This release will also mark the last day of both PvP season 5 and the Lunar New Year event, which will also make the near free ascended set from playing PvP this season no longer obtainable.

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This chapter will follow the adventures of the player character as they are summoned to Kryta by its Queen, Jennah, who has asked us to be her witness as she investigates the corruption in Divinity’s Reach. Amidst this investigation the city, or at least its surrounded areas, will be assaulted by what appears from the trailer to be bloodstone powered weaponry. Players will then head to the source of this attack, which appears to be north east of Divinity’s Reach, and probably the location of the new map. This return to the original concept for humanity in Guild Wars 2, of a nation on the brink of destruction rife with internal conflict, is definitely in line with the ‘back to our roots’ approach the story has been taking in recent months. With the return of the white mantle, return of the Dwarf story, the breaking of the Tooth, the rising prominence of the bloodstones and the battles with the Elder Dragons, the game really looks to be finally continuing some of its older and bigger story lines.

Players can expect to see many enemies in this release, with strong mobs and almost no safe zones a common factor in the most recent maps, including rampaging centaurs and white mantle warriors. The centaurs in the trailer have obvious signs of bloodstone corruption, and several primitive looking camps also fly white mantle banners, suggesting an alliance has formed between the two. The explorable mode of the dungeon Caudecus’s manor takes us through the journey of finding and rescuing The Butler, with the trail eventually leading us to see the Bandits who are occupying the Manor in league with Centaurs, to whom they are selling the servants of the residence. After recently finding out that the bandits are also part of the White Mantle, or at least working alongside them, it’s an alliance that’s had its seeds planted for a long time. This is probably going to have some pretty significant political impacts for the minister, whose campaign against the Queen has heavily relied upon the centaur menace and Jennah being unable to cope, and it will probably turn out he has been behind the scenes there for a long time orchestrating attacks to discredit Jennah.

Aside from this story episode, there is going to be the usual side story that comes along with the new raid release. This raid is going to be a 4 boss instalment, with entrance gained via a portal that has formed in the wake of the bloodstone explosion in Bloodstone Fen. The speculation for this raid has been pretty widespread, with theories stretching as far as exploring the Underworld. What we do know for sure is that going in to this wing is going to be something all players should probably do, even if it’s just to sit at the entrance for a few minutes, following a developer comment on Reddit that it would be a good idea to visit it even for five minutes before heading off to the next story episode. The question for most people though, especially following a comment like that, is how much story will be locked behind the raids? Though the raids are kept at a fairly accessible level in terms of difficulty and gearing, there is still a huge portion of the players who consider raids out of their league. Whether it’s due to getting a group together or just not having the time to learn, this still means that some players simply don’t get to experience the story of the raids in game, which can be pretty problematic for how much Arenanet is going to be able to put in without floods of complaints.

Along with this patch, aside from the big release of the story and the raids, players have also been told to expect a nerf to one of the best gold farms in the game. Auric Basin multiloot maps will be going away, with players only able to receive loot from each chest once no matter which instance of the map they are on. This has been a pretty huge part of the game, flooding the economy on Globs of Ectoplasm (used in almost every form of crafting and gearing) due to the many rare item drops, which has in turn put these items in a very affordable place. Although this could potentially create a bit of a problem for some players who need these globs, aka everybody in Tyria, the new farming method for Leather should help balance our this, either by lowering overall prices back to normal or just generally boosting player’s gold income. Even if it does create a bit more expensive gear, nerfing this will be a welcome change, as until now it just felt useless doing other activities since you wouldn’t be making as much gold as you do here.

This patch is going to be a huge one for the game, even without the much desired balance patch, and should provide a fairly big boost of content to play through for most people. I would definitely recommend coming in to play this one, especially if you have already started this season of living World as it looks like it’s going to sum up a lot of the stuff from Episode 1. 

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