We have an official preview of the Guild Wars 2 January patch, which is entitled Flame and Frost: Prelude, and ArenaNet’s Colin Johanson has been busy performing interviews and livestreams to give fans the skinny on the latest developments. There are bits of information oozing out of all corners of the internet, but we’ve done our best to summarize the important pieces below.
On January 28, the Flame & Frost: Prelude update will go live for Guild Wars 2. This prologue will begin a multi-stage story that will be told over the coming months and it’s possible that another elder dragon is stirring up trouble:
“The sky falls and the ground shakes in the lands of the north. Charr and norn refugees crawl from the wreckage of their homes in the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau, struggling to find shelter in the south. The call goes out for volunteers to assist the victims in this time of need, when earth and sky seem to have become the enemy…”
We’re getting a new currency in the January patch, which will be used to purchase a variety of different items. Laurels (renamed from crowns) will be earned for completing daily and monthly achievements and can be used to purchase a variety of different items: ascended gear (30 new amulets), 5 new utility infusions, Endless Mystery Cat Tonic, unidentified dyes, and WvW items. Laurels can also be used to purchase mini pets including the new posh feline, Chauncey von Snuffles III. Someone at ArenaNet really likes cats.
To make it more fun to earn your laurels, the daily achievements will rotate and change each day to encourage you to explore the open world. An achievement tracker has been added to the UI to make things even easier and eventually we’ll have the option to complete only a subset of the achievements and still fill our daily quota. This will allow them to add achievements for things like completing jumping puzzles or compete in the Keg Brawl mini-game.
The gem store will be stocked with new items including riding brooms, a revamped Box o’ Fun, and Baby Quaggan Backpacks. Nothing says “Fear me!” better than a plush anthropomorphic manatee strapped to your back!
From January 28 through February 4, there will be a special Temple of the Silent Storm week for structured PvP. The regular tournaments will be replaced by two-team/single-round paid tournaments in the Temple of the Silent Storm map. After the special week is over, the kodan-themed map will finally be added to the normal tournament rotation.
The culling issue (a.k.a. invisible army), which plagues World vs. World, is also going to be improved on January 28. Low resolution character models will draw instantly on the screen with the higher polygon versions filling in a few seconds later. They will continue to make improvements to this issue with subsequent game updates.
Mr. Johanson also chimed in regarding the much-discussed legendary precursor weapons. In the short term, they will be adding new ways to find them, albeit with extremely rare drop rates. The long term plan is to have a long scavenger hunt quest that rewards them, but this is currently a ways off.
Last but not least, guesting will finally make it into the game as we reported on last week.
Colin touches on many other topics during these interviews and with that I give you, The Johanson Lightning Round:
- Log-in rates have been slowly increasing every week for the past 5 weeks.
- He believes that GW2 is the fastest-selling MMO to reach 3 million copies sold. (Not including China)
- Human is the most popular race and Charr is the least.
- Working on new progression paths for World vs. World.
- WvW recognition: Titles, WvW abilities, Stand out to enemy servers
- Guesting was delayed because they kept finding last minute game-breaking bugs.
- Fixing loot so you have a chance to acquire level 80 items in any zone.
- They want to thin out monsters in Orr and add a few non-contested waypoints to make it easier to get around.
- New rewards coming to Orr and revamped temple boss encounters.
- Not working on Guild Halls, but will do them at some point in the future.
- New playable races are possible for expansions.
- Preview links for other armor classes coming back in January update.
- Previews for trading post items being worked on still for the future.
- Open worlds is the focus for now. Instanced raids not currently planned.
- Veterans, champions, and bosses will be made more exciting and rewarding.
It looks like the Guild Wars 2 January patch (and beyond) is chock-full of things to be excited about. What are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below.