ArenaNet lists the new additions in what they are calling a mini-expansion.
ArenaNet is calling the update a Mini-Expansion, and rightfully so. Below is a list of the major features coming with the update.
- A new zone for players to explore. This small to medium sized zone will be for level 80 characters, but lower level players will be up-leveled to 80 during the one-time event scheduled between Noon PDT on Friday, November 16 and Noon PDT on Sunday, November 18. After the event is over the zone will still be accessible, but will no longer sidekick lower level players up to level 80.
- A new enemy -- Called the Karka, these new enemies have a hard shell that will be impenetrable by players until they discover a way to break the shells.
- A new dungeon -- This new dungeon, called Fractals of the Mists, will challenge players with increased difficulty after every successful run through. Along with the new skins for weapons players can expect to find:
- Ascended tier items -- This new tier of items will be a step above the current Exotic tier of items. This new tier will be slightly more powerful than Exotics.
- A new sPvP map -- Called Temple of the Silent Storm, this new map is themed after the Kodan. Set on an iceberg and littered with temples, this new map focuses on verticality. It's unique mechanic is also themed to the Kodan, making players meditate at temples to gain different buffs, including one that resets control of all points back to neutral.
- Additional Crafting: In addition to 200 new recipes that are going to be added there will also be a new resource for players to harvest.
Of all the changes, the most surprising part of the update is the new tier of items. Leading up to GW2's release, ArenaNet had continually said there would not be the gear treadmill that is seen in many other MMOs. So to see a higher tier of weapons in the first major update (not even the first expansion) is an interesting reveal. To make things even more interesting, some Ascended tier items will have a rare chance to include an "Infusion" slot which can be used to make the player even more powerful. With a dungeon that will progressively get more difficult, it sounds like players could need to run the gear treadmill or face hitting an impassible difficulty wall at some point in the new dungeon.
Maybe the new tier will not be quite the gear treadmill seen in other MMOs. After all they are said to only be "slightly" more powerful than exotics. What might be most important is the rare Infusion slot. Guild Wars 1 players might be familiar with infusion.
In GW1 players would get their armor infused to help protect players from the special abilities of the Mursaat, the enemies at the end of the Prophecies campaign. While it was possible to beat the game without infusion, it was much more difficult to survive without it. This Infused slot could be much the same, being a defense to certain abilities or maybe even the ability to break through a certain new enemy's hard shell?
What are you most excited for in the update? What about the new item tier, are you excited or more hesitant at the possible start of a gear treadmill in future major updates and expansions?
Matt "Mattsta" Adams