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Bazaar of the Four Winds

David North Posted:
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Bazaar of the Four Winds is the newest update in the Living Story for Guild Wars 2ArenaNet is taking players to the skies in this very unique batch of content.  We’ve been thrown into combat against deadly alliances, and even given a list of lost items to find.  Bazaar of the Four Winds lets players take a little break from all the hacking and slashing, and lets us try something new.

Players are taken to a Bazaar where merchants from all over the world come together to sell their strange and exotic items.  You will be able to see ancient relics from civilizations passed, and strange crystal formations that would turn the head of even the wealthiest of nobles.  The environment is littered with detail helping to create that level of immersion ArenaNet is trying to achieve with the Living Story.  If you decide to get a closer look into some of these items the merchants may start to bug you.  When you’re not causing trouble, some merchants will trade you unique armor skins for scraps you will find laying around.

The merchants here will sell the strangest items.

As you continue to make your way to the amazing Zephyr Sanctum ship you’ll notice special crystals that when touched, give you the power to travel in a new way.  These new skills let you harness the powers of new elements.  Players will be able to use the power of light to travel forward at great speeds, letting them pass through waterfalls.  Lightning Tethers can be used like a grappling hook, letting players safely travel between platforms too far apart for a jump.  The power of the wind can give players an extra boost, letting them perform a super high jump.  By using all these new skills, you can traverse the Bazaar like the merchants themselves.

Using a kite won’t work to reach the Zephyr Sanctum.

Bits of information can be found from the crew of the Zephyr Sanctum, but the real fun comes from the Sanctum Sprint.  I’ve mention plenty of times that I miss Rollerbeetle Racing.  While the Sanctum Sprint is indeed different, I have to say that it’s incredibly fun, and takes care of the itch.  At least for now.

The race has players using their new elemental abilities to go through a race course.  Like Rollerbeetle Racing, players will find power ups scattered throughout the track that give you some extra abilities.  These power ups can stun other racers, or even transport you directly to the next waypoint.  Players that are trailing behind will have a greater chance of getting some of the nicer power ups than those that are in leading positions.  Be sure to bring your A game every time, you never know when acting sloppy will let a lucky player take the lead from you.

Once you finish the race, you can use a camera to watch the rest of the players.

For you PvP players out there, I have good news for you.  The new map, Skyhammer , is amazing!  Here players will do battle in a Asuran weapon testing facility.  Teams will fight to control 3 major points on the map, and can also use a powerful laser cannon that blasts enemies away!  Besides the cool environment and the large laser cannon, the map has jump pads similar to what we saw in Dragon Ball.  There are also strange panels on the ground that will disappear for a period of time after one player has crossed it.  This allows players that find themselves alone and being chased by the entire opposing team to stand a fighting chance.

Now the big topic of this new update will be the achievement rewards.  How these rewards work is actually pretty simple.  Once a player has reached a milestone, every 500 achievement points, they will receive a reward.  The reward from small chest can be gold and laurels.  Larger chest allow a player to choose between weapon and armor skins.  Once the skin is chosen, a player can make as many of the skin as they want, on any character, no matter what armor class. 

Permanent magic find, gold find, experience, and karma boosts as also obtained through the achievement chests, allowing players to finally progress their level 80 characters.  ArenaNet has always planned to use the achievements, but needed to make sure they had the right type of reward system thought out before making the change.  ArenaNet also plans to add new reward tiers as new achievements become available.

The Bazaar of the Four Winds is an excellent continuation of the Living Story.  It offers unique game play, which like the Super Adventure Box, feels more like another game within a game.  The Skyhammer PvP is sure to become a new favorite, and the new achievement rewards system will finally start to expand on character progression.  Get ready to take to the skies fellow heroes!  A little tip while you’re up there, don’t look down. 

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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David North