Flame and Frost Part 2: The Gathering Storm

Guild Wars 2 has monthly updates and today the February update is upon us.  This is the second part of a four part update series called Flame and Frost which introduces a Living Story.  This patch also adds a new PvP map (Spirit Watch), Guild Missions, Two Team Rated PvP, Choose Your Own Daily Achievements and Preview Items in Trading Post.

What is a Living Story?
A Living Story is a series of events that leaves a permanent change to the world.  Once it is done, the old version of the world no longer exists.  This often happens in MMOs when an expansion hits, but less often during the life of an expansion other than to add new areas.

So if I miss it?
You miss it as far as we can tell. This is the first time GW2 has implemented this so we will have to wait and see for sure.  It is likely that something will remain at the end, but the steps leading to it will be gone.

What level do I need to be to take part?
We don’t know for sure, but the first parts of the story were in Wayfarer Foothills (1-15) and Diessa Plateau (15-25) so not that high.

What do I do in order to take part?
There are three things you can do to figure out how to take part:

  1. Go to the areas affected before the patch and then after and interact with anything that has changed.
  2. Check the Achievements section of the Hero panel which includes a Living Story section.  Completing these achievements will likely cover most of the content.
  3. Check out a guide like this one on Dulfy complete with maps.

For part 1 you need to run around helping refugees (put up signs, light fires and collect items you hand in to the collectors spread along the route).  I am not going to produce detailed guides with maps and pictures because other people already do this better.

What do we know about Spirit Watch?
Its a new PvP map – a combination of capturing nodes like most GW2 maps and murderball.  You need to capture the Orb of Ascension and take it to one of the Shrines to earn points.

What do we know about Guild Missions?
Theres a whole video for this.  There are five types of Guild Mission – Bounty, Trek, Challenge, Rush and Puzzle.  You start with access to bounty and have to open the others up via the guild improvements functionality.  We also know they are going to make use of Southsun Cove for these, which is an underused map area.  We know that a Guild must start one of these events, but anyone in the area can join in and complete them.  Guild Members will get an additional reward.

What do we know about Two Team Rated PvP?
They trialed this after the last patch, it worked, its going live.  You can hear more about this in the Guild Wars 2 Guru State of the Game video where two of the developers talk about this.

What do we know about Choose Your Own Daily Achievements?
The idea is to allow you to pick what you want to do from a short list.   This is intended to allow them to expand on the range of daily achievements on offer by letting you filter out ones you can’t/won’t do.  This suggests that there will always be a core set of achievements, likely drawn from the ones already available, plus others will be added.

Is there anything else in this patch?
Yes!  One thing in particular that seems to have gone under the radar is the update to all the bosses in the Ascalonion Catacombs dungeon.  There should also be some more improvements to culling (where the game limits how many people you see on screen so that your computer doesn’t lag/crash).  These kinds of changes are unlikely to be highlighted because they are fixes and a fix suggests something is broken, but they are talked about by the developers in interviews.

What should I do to prepare for this patch?
Complete the initial Living Story achievement and help your guild to stack points to spend on guild quests.

I will try and do a guide like this to each patch as it comes out, drawing together information from various sources and cutting through the volume of information sometimes available to highlight the key points.

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