Guild Wars 2: Cutthroat Politics Preview

More information on what players will experience in the new patch out tomorrow.

The Cutthroat Politics content patch releases tomorrow in Guild Wars 2. The overarching theme of the patch is the election for Lion’s Arch Captain’s Council seat between candidates Ellen Kiel and Evon Gnashblade. The election isn’t the only thing coming, as players will get to experience three new activities coming with the patch.

During the content, players will receive support tokens throughout most areas of the game. These tokens are like votes, which players will turn in to support the candidate of their choosing. Turning in these tokens will award a support button for that candidate (turning a token in for Kiel will award a Kiel button). These buttons give a one hour buff which allows completion of achievements toward the completion of the two meta-achievements.

Players might remember completing a couple of achievements during the Secret of Southsun content in May that similarly required having the appropriate buff in order to finish each achievement. Like the two achievements during the Southsun content, players will be able to complete both of the candidates’ meta-achievements during the Cutthroat Politics content. Like the Southsun content, the buffs don’t stack and therefore cannot be completed all at the same time (though this doesn’t mean players must completely finish one meta before starting the other).

The first of the three activities being added in this patch is the Candidate Trials. These trials have players holding out against Aetherblade pirates who are trying to steal treasure from a downed airship. Upon entering, players will select which candidate they are supporting (which will change some of the flavor of the activity but not change the challenge itself) and will be trying to keep treasure from the Aetherblades so it can be used to help support their chosen candidate.

The activity has a tiered system, where the activity gets more challenging the higher the tier players reach. The first tier is designed to be solo-able, but players will need to form groups of up to five if they wish to hold out against the fourth tier as ArenaNet has dubbed it the Hardmode tier. As players kill more Aetherblades during the holdout they will get more loot, including the rare chance for Aeterblade weapons (Note: not skins).

The second activity is the Aspect Arena being hosted by Ellen Kiel. The arena has players teaming up in a PvP challenge where they select one of the three aspects: Sun, Wind or Lightning. This seems to be similar to the Snowball Fight during Wintersday where players on each team selected one of the three snowball classes.

Each of these aspects will give the players five skills including the movement skill they are already accustomed to. The Sun aspect is good for ground, long range attacks, such as the Bastion skill, which gives AoE stability to allies while damaging enemies and the Sun Beam, which does more damage the farther away the target is. The Wind aspect is a good mid-range set. The Wind aspect comes with an interesting skill that will test a player’s skill. Apparently the Wind Orb will hit an enemy player and then launch into the air. If the player who launched the Wind Orb is able to “catch” the orb by standing under where it will land, the orb will then launch back to the target for additional increased damage. Lastly the Lightning set is good for close range, including the Lightning Cage which will prevent trapped players from getting out of range of the attacker.

In addition to the attacks, the map includes different areas and paths open only to players with the corresponding aspect. This can be very useful as the goal of the Aspect Arena is not to defeat the players of the opposing team, but to collect (and return to your base) the highest number of crystals within the five minute time limit.

The third and final activity, Southsun Survival hosted by Evon Gnashblade, is the spiritual successor to the Hunger Royale finale event from the third Beta Weekend Event. Southsun Survival is a free for all activity where the goal is to survive. Players start off with a bow and some arrows, but no rations to keep them alive. During the activity, players have the option to scavenge for more rations and arrows or take out other players and loot their supplies. With a bow and arrow, players might immediately think of staying back and sniping players. The number of arrows a player has is limited, however, and any missed arrows will stick in the ground for any player to pick up.

The first two minutes of the activity is like a grace period. Players will have only a single stack of Hunger during the first two minutes and any deaths during this time will respawn the player at one of the camps. After two minutes player deaths will become permanent and the Hunger debuff will start stacking. Hunger will continue to stack every two minutes andwill drain the player’s HP (with more damage taken the more Hunger is stacked). While the debuff cannot be removed, players can gain health back by eating rations looted from camps and Passiflora plants.

In addition to rations and arrows, players have the opportunity to scavenge three different traps: Pickpocket, Alarm and Fake Ration. The pickpocket trap when triggered will cause the player to drop all of his supplies on the ground, allowing quick players to steal some of the enemy’s supply. The alarm trap causes loud noises, a huge beam of light that can be seen across the map to shine on the player, pings on the mini-map to show his location and applies Torment to the player (the debuff that does additional damage to moving targets). With the Torment debuff, players must decide to move away from the alarms that are broadcasting their location or stand still and take reduced damage. The final trap is the fake ration. This trap looks like one of the Passiflora plants players can get rations from but, instead of rations, the player will receive an explosion to the face.

While deaths are permanent after the first two minutes of the activity, death isn’t the end of the activity for players. After players are eliminated they fade into the mists and return in Mistwalker form. Mistwalkers can use skills to affect the players still alive, but each of these skills requires a different number of Revenge Motes. These motes are dropped whenever a living player loots camps or Passiflora. At 10 revenge motes players will even have the ability to summon a Veteran Karka on top of a player. Mistwalkers are not out of the leaderboards either, as skillful use of revenge motes can get a player as high a second in the final standing.

Players will be able to contribute to either of the candidates until 11 am U.S. Pacific time on Monday, August 5th. One of the offerings of each candidate is research into a new Fractals of the Mist location: the Fall of Abaddon if Evon Gnashblade wins and the Thaumanova Reactor explosion if Ellen Kiel wins. In order to give added significance to the players’ choice, the loosing Fractal option will likely never be added to the game! Check out the Cutthroat Politics content when it launches tomorrow, July 23rd.

Matt Adams

Follow me @MattstaNinja

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