A whole new (living) world!
NCsoft has been fighting to make Guild Wars 2 an MMORPG with a vibrant and ever changing atmosphere since the game's inception, an idea they call the Living World. Like a theme park that keeps adding new rides, the Guild Wars 2 development team has multiple teams running in (almost) perfect harmony, with a new notable content update releasing every two weeks. Today, July 9, marks the release of the latest Living World event content, the Bazaar of the Four Winds. In this event, players will interact with merchants from all across Tyria, unlock new rewards from the debuted account achievement reward system, and battle in the new PvP map, Skyhammer.
The Bazaar of the Four Winds promises to be a great way for players to explore deeper into the story of Guild Wars 2 in addition to unlocking great rewards and partaking in the events. The major theme in the Bazaar of the Four Winds release is based around the Zephyr Sanctum, a mystical flying machine filled with magical crystals that the traders are using.
Aside from the changes to GW2's living world, the patch is bringing a number of new events with it, including a new mini-game, an obstacle course, and a scavenger hunt that will almost certainly include a new jumping puzzle in the Labyrinthine Cliffs, each with their own unique rewards. The update also includes Quartz, a new resource for the game's economy, as well as several new recipes that use the material that players can collect. Players who complete the majority of the content and unlock the Lessons from the Sky achievement will be awarded a miniature model of the Zephyr Sanctum, allowing them to keep a small piece of the brief event with them throughout the rest of their GW2 careers.
The update also includes a number of features that are pretty awesome despite being unrelated to the Bazaar. The development team at ArenaNet has broken new ground in this update, giving players rewards for Achievement Points (AKA e-peen rewards). With the new achievement point system, players can unlock unique cosmetic effects such as weapon skins or permanent account bonuses for certain achievements. Additionally, players will earn gems, gold, powerful items, and more as their achievement scores go up over time. Alongside these modifications to the importance of Achievements, ArenaNet has updated the Achievement panel UI, making it easier to understand and interact with.
The final update in the Bazaar is the most exciting for some players. The new PvP battle map, Skyhammer, is being released with this patch, offering players a whole new way to cut each other down. The battle itself is focused on the Asura super-weapon Skyhammer, from which the map gets its name. For more information on Skyhammer, check out the promotional video below:
The changes and content presented in the Bazaar of the Four Winds update would be a welcome change to any game. If this is the standard that ArenaNet plans to present every two weeks going forward, then it's safe to say that Guild Wars 2 will quickly outpace every other game on the market in terms of content. A powerful claim to make in the MMORPG industry. I believe that the deeper question here is this: Can Guild Wars 2 really sustain a major content update every two weeks indefinitely? I'm skeptical, but perhaps I'm wrong. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!