Guild Wars 2: Queen's Jubilee Preview

We give you an early look at the new Guild Wars 2 content coming tomorrow!

Tomorrow, August 6th, the next content patch for Guild Wars 2 will go live. The content, called Queen's Jubilee, revolves around celebrating the 10th year of the human queen's rule. As such, most of the content will be found in Divinity's Reach, the human capital.

Not all of the content is in Divinity's Reach, however, as hot air balloons have been placed throughout most of the open world zones offering a way for players to travel in style to the festivities. As players could easily port straight to DR, these balloons are not so much a way to travel to the festivities, but a way to draw players into the new content instead of just sending players mail telling them where to go.

The hot air balloons, however, are not just sitting around waiting to pick players up. After reaching a balloon players will find events happening in the area such as protecting the balloon from Aetherblade pirates or escorting emissaries to the balloon. These events were designed for players to solo, but will still follow event scaling with more players participating.

The star of the show is the Crown Pavilion. This new addition to Divinity's Reach covers the remains of the great collapse. The first time a player enters the pavilion, they will enter a story mode setting the stage for this new mini-zone. After the story mode is completed, players can enter the pavilion directly.

The Crown Pavilion features the enemies of humanity in a single zone. It is not only humanity that is within the pavilion, however, as representatives of each race are looking for players to champion their race. Championing a race gives access to special goods from their merchant as well as giving a specific buff which will give a stat boost and bonus against one of humanity's enemies.

Looking at the map, players will notice that it is divided into six sections. Each section is dedicated to one of humanity's enemies. Players can go kill whichever enemy they want, which will drop the new Watchwork items. They drop Watchwork items as the enemies are actually the new Watchknights, disguised as enemies by Mesmer illusions. After killing an enemy, players might notice the illusion breaking and a Watchknight lying dead in the enemy's place.

At any time, up to two bosses can be active in any of the sections. While players don't need to go fight these bosses (highlighted by dynamic event notifications), these bosses will cause negative effects throughout the pavilion while they are alive. These negative effects include cannonballs randomly raining down from the sky or causing players' endurance bars to refill slowly. These bosses are no pushovers, reportedly being designed for 20-30 players while including some anti-zerg mechanics.

Hanging in the sky above each enemy section are glass domes where players can participate in the Queen's Gauntlet. With the gauntlet, players will be able to challenge unique bosses with interesting mechanics in 1v1 combat. A couple of the easier bosses include one that has a slow wind-up hammer smash that will instantly down any player who didn't move out of the way of the attack while the quaggan boss will grow larger (and hit harder) with each hit the quaggan takes requiring players to either kite the boss or jump in and out of melee to land big hits while avoiding disaster.

The Queen's Gauntlet features its own set of achievements separate from the Queen's Jubilee Living World achievements. These feature some interesting achievements, such as defeating the quaggan with a full 10 stacks of the enrage buff and defeating specific bosses with certain gambits. Gambits are ways to make things more interesting in a fight. Think the hammer smash boss sounds too easy? How about trying it without the ability to dodge? There are a couple of handfuls of gambits available including the inability to dodge and always being on fire.

Queuing up for the gauntlet requires a special ticket that will drop during the event or can be bought with the Watchwork cogs from a merchant. In addition to the entry fee, each gambit added will require another ticket. While a single gambit will double the entry fee, each gambit added (up to 5) will upgrade the rewards you can get for succeeding. In addition to the standard rewards, players who defeat the final, most difficult boss will receive a mini-pet version of that boss. This is apparently not an easy task, as out of 60 testers only 5 have successfully defeated the boss! There isn't an unlimited amount of time either, as players who have not won or lost the fight when the time runs out will find the floor opening beneath them with a long drop to certain death awaiting below.

Outside of the pavilion there are a couple of new additions to Divinity's Reach. The beacon lighting mini-activity takes place throughout DR. Players can find one of the multiple torch lighting races by locating the Living World icon on the map. These icons direct players to NPCs who will hand players a torch and start the race. Players will have a short time to light a couple of handfuls of torches, but this race isn't all about speed but knowing the right path to take. The most straightforward path might not be the best one to take. There is also the Royal Terrace, a VIP area hosting all of the crafting stations and a mystic forge in close proximity to each other. Being a VIP area, players will have to pay to gain access to this location, but will get to show off their VIP status as players outside can see inside.

In addition to the Living World content, there are a few new features included in this update. Players will find the new Account Wallet located as one of the tabs within their Hero panel. Additionally, players will be able to click the currency bar at the bottom of the inventory (where coin and karma are currently located) to open directly to the Account Wallet tab.

Another tab is also being added to the Hero panel. The last tab will function as the permanent finisher selection window where players can select which finisher is active between the default, rank and gem store finishers. The unlimited finisher tab will not make temporary finishers obsolete, as players will still be able to use temporary finishers then switch back to any permanent finisher they have unlocked.

With the addition of the mini-game rotation a new NPC is being added to Lion's Arch. The Mini-Game Master will instantly deposit players into the mini-game active for that day. You can read more about the Champion and Dungeon reward changes on the official Guild Wars 2 website and the solo queue addition for PvP was really straightforward.

Lastly, later today, Monday, August 5th, at 11 am Pacific, the polls will be closed for the Captain's Council Candidate Election. If you want your vote to count toward who will be elected to the council, make sure you get your tokens in before the deadline.

Matt Adams

Follow me @MattstaNinja

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