Simple answer: JUMPING.
I’ve been playing the Bazaar of the Four Winds content in Guild Wars 2. I can definitely say the Living Story is getting better. I can also say this is absolutely without any reservation the best patch so far. I am loving it.
This patch is all about the jumping. The best part so far is the Sky Crystal scavenger hunt. Hidden all around the area are lots of little crystals to click on. If you click on enough, you get an achievement and a little airship model. The rewards, however, are secondary to the satisfaction of managing the jumps and tricks to get to the items.
There are not one, but two new mini games. One of these is Sanctum Sprint. Its basically a race with power ups. Think Mario meets GW2. Its fun, uncomplicated and fast paced. The second is a drinking game, which involves a little strategy. Both are fun and simple.
Getting out and about
What I really like about this and the previous patch are the ways in which it seeks to get players out into the world. Running around zones collecting things was all well and good, but the use of jumping puzzles and home instances in cities is a big positive. It focuses players on elements of the game which brings them together to complete these. A great example is the use of the mini-dungeon style puzzles which are hard to complete solo. However, every time I go to one of these at the moment, there are a bunch of people there to help. GW2 is a game where its always good to see other people, and ArenaNet’s attempts to group people in areas at set times make the world feel more alive.
How about that grind?
Finally, this patch feels less grindy. There is still a ‘go collect these’ achievement and quite a few ‘go visit this spot’ achievements, but it feels more reasonable. You could skip the ‘go collect these’ because the meta achievement is also reasonable, requiring less of the overall achievement list to be completed than in early implementations of this.
I hope to see more of this. More use of existing content in different ways and more lovely vertical new zones and scavenger hunts to enjoy.