The newest addition to Guild Wars 2 is the final episode of Living World Season 3, featuring the open-world zone Siren’s Landing. We were recently invited to a preview of the new content run by ArenaNet developers and taken on a tour of the gorgeously-appointed area and given a taste of the new mechanics involved with the update. There are several public events available throughout the zone, including a chain involving assisting sylvari who are recovering from the death of their Elder Dragon Mordremoth.
Here on the continent of Orr, players can obtain god-buffs when someone activates a nearby mastery and sings the appropriate dirge. The lore behind this mechanic is quite intriguing, based on ancient history where the Sirens of Orr would sing praises to the gods and modern powerful beings were attuned to those songs and thus susceptible to anyone wielding the power relating to them.
Your overall task as a player in this zone is to help the locals revitalize various shrines to restore the god-magic and help cleanse Orr itself of its corruption. There are special Unchained Risen bosses that roam the area that require certain mechanics to defeat more readily than simply wailing away on it for a long period of time. Other dangers in the zone involve Necromancers that help buff nearby Undead to give them a measure of intelligence in their attacks upon the living. There are also kingpins roaming around, tougher mobs that will require groups to take them down. According to the devs, there are either three or four of them patrolling around, and once the last one is defeated, a champion kingpin will spawn for an even greater challenge.
The overall meta of the zone focuses on repowering the four shrines. Players can do this by collecting small pieces of unbound magic from mobs they kill and depositing them in the nearby shrine. As each shrine is reactivated, a champion will spawn that will need to be defeated by a group. Once it’s defeated, and if players have the shrine unlocked, they can obtain buffs from the shrine. The areas around each shrine are thematically tied to the god the shrine is for, which makes for some pretty stunning visuals.
Each episode in the overall story has had its own separate currency to obtain, and in this zone, the item to obtain is Orrian pearls from various clams and oysters in the area. As we were taken into the sub-zone around Grenth’s reliquary, we discovered something unusual in GW2 (or indeed many games): friendly wraiths. These wraiths had chosen to side with the living against the other unchained to protect the shrine of their old god. It was noted that once all four of the overall meta shrines were repowered, the ghostly stewards at each one would turn into vendors for the players. Also, we were advised that if the masteries were up when the four-shrine spawned meta champion spawns, they provide a debuff to that champion to help players defeat it.
We were then directed to another area featuring Dwayna’s reliquary. This was a lot of fun with nearly limitless gliding ability due to the nature of the heated water below. The event we participated in was to collect certain artifacts for an Asura named Hiffa. Once we achieved that goal, a poison-spewing undead wyvern spawned as a boss, and it turned into a tank and spank fight with an extra mechanic of dispersing the poison and avoiding its breath to remain on its ledge to melee it down. During the fight, players would use the collected artifacts to throw at the wyvern to stun it, and once it was stunned, it was a straight up DPS race. Despite the developers warning us to flee when the stun timer was about to expire, several us from the press kept up the attack and surprised the devs by successfully downing the boss before it could reactivate its poison cloud.
The final area we were taken to was the sub-zone around Balthazar’s reliquary with lava pits and a fountain. A less mechanics-heavy area, it was mainly a place to kill all the things. One of the fun little tricks there is that you can push the Charr enemies into the lava pits to defeat them more easily. There’s also a special buff you can acquire that adds a knockback to all of your other attack skills which also adds some fun gameplay to the event.
At the conclusion of the session, we were advised that the release would include a new Fractal of the Mist and a new legendary hammer. In all, it seemed like a very intriguing new addition to the venerable MMO. It was a lot of fun running with a group and tackling the adversaries, and even having numbers on our side wasn’t enough to save us, so the challenge will be there for players thirsty for them.
The new episode should now be available for play in-game.
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