Getting to know the sky pirates.
The latest Guild Wars 2 living story content, Sky Pirates of Tyria, focuses on a new group of people, the Aetherblade Sky Pirates. The Aetherblades only recently appeared in Lion's Arch, one of the central cities in Guild Wars 2, and in the upcoming content you'll be seeing a lot more of them.
According to Guild Wars 2 Game Designer Steve Hwang, Tyria is no stranger to pirates. "There are several established pirate factions in Guild Wars 2 already, such as Covington's Pirates in Bloodtide Coast or the triple threat of Slade, Jackdaw, and Wiley's pirate crews in Gendarran Fields. Given that many players have already fought pirates, how could we create a distinctive look and feel for our new buccaneers?" he said.
First, the ArenaNet team had to establish a unique aesthetic. In the end, they went with a super cool steampunk look, complete with airships instead of traditional water based vessels. Aetherblades also have lightning imbued in skill effects, traps, and weapons thanks to their alliance with the chemically advanced Inquest organization.
"The word "aether" has air and magic connotations, and "blades" helps convey the swashbuckling side of pirates," said Hwang. "Short names are nice, being simpler to remember, and it gives players an easily recognizable prefix to the enemy variations, such as Aetherblade Strikers, Aetherblade Thugs, and Aetherblade Swashbucklers."
The world of Guild Wars 2 is filled with thousands of dynamic events that constantly change based on the actions of players like you. Fast-paced, action-oriented combat lets you attack on the move, dodge and roll away from enemy blows, team up with other players, and take advantage of environmental weapons to dominate the battlefield! Competitive play in Guild Wars 2 is easy to learn, but offers challenges for new players and hardcore PvPers alike. Guild Wars 2 is your story - your choices determine how your personal story evolves, and with thousands of possible variations, no two players will have the exact same experience.
Here are a few of the Aetherblades you'll be seeing in the upcoming content:
Aetherblade Thug: This slow-moving power hitter can immobilize and knock down his opponents.
Aetherblade Thumper: This hearty pirate has a three-hit combo and a protective shield.
Aetherblade Swashbuckler: This pirate deals bleeding and crippling, and throws daggers to opponents beyond the reach of her rapier.
Aetherblade Taskmaster: What these brutes lack in speed they make up for in applying conditions.
Aetherblade Striker: This caster can channel a lightning attack and a dazing aura.
Aetherblade Grenadier: Like the name implies, this scoundrels throw grenades that pack a wallop.
As for where you can find them in game, they'll be messing with the Mini Hologram projectors from Dragon Bash and will have a chance to pop out from there. They will also be guarding Aetherblade caches in several jumping puzzles and mini-dungeons in explorable maps.
Additionally, there's an entirely new dungeon, Aetherblade Retreat, where players can take on all sorts of new enemies. There will be Asuran Engineers who can use a rotating electric wall attack, and a First Mate who uses a ship's cannon as his weapon. At the end of the dungeon, players can get a jackpot-type item, 100 Dragon Coffers, a monocle combat helm, and other level 80 items.
"We're adding a brand new group of people that will be here for a while," explained Quality Assurance Lead Elijah Miller. "Aetherblades are here to stay and they'll be making appearances in the future." We'll have to wait and see what's next for them, but luckily we won't have to wait for long as the ArenaNet team have already got a bunch of new content coming right around the corner.
Source: Guild Wars 2 Dev Blog