Gliding in Central Tyria, changes to the Shatterer and updates to Fractals of the Mists are just some of the changes coming in Guild Wars 2‘s Winter 2016 Update. Arriving on January 26, this update marks the first in ArenaNet’s new regular update schedule, with seasonal major releases designed to increase the depth of Guild Wars 2‘s existing systems. Read on to find out what’s being planned for release in 2016.
Winter 2016 Update
On January 26, players can expect a load of changes coming to Tyria. We’ve summarised these below, taken from today’s blog post.
Gliding in Central Tyria
It’s happening! The Gliding Mastery line is being expanded to allow gliding in any open-world map in the game, including cities. Being a mastery, this will only be available to players who own Heart of Thorns (so if you needed an excuse, now’s the time to buy it!).
The Shatterer Updated
Like Tequatl, the Shatterer is next on the list of more challenging Elder Dragon lieutenant fights. With a new unique back-slot item, plus new achievements and better rewards, now’s the time to start killing some Branded again!
Fractals of the Mists QoL Changes
The LFG tool is receiving an expanded range of Fractal levels to make finding groups easier. The hub inside fractals will also allow players to change the current scale without having to leave the instance, by interacting with the control panel near the entrance. For anyone who runs fractals regularly, these changes will surely be welcome.
Support Counts for Event Participation
Healers, buffers and general party-supporters unite! In the Winter 2016 Update, you’ll now be rewarded for participating in events and supporting your allies. Reviving, healing, applying boons and stripping conditions will all count towards event participation and that sweet gold medal, as long as you attack enemies a few times to tag them.
Lieutenants Come to Squads
Using the Enhanced Squad UI, Commanders will soon be able to promote members to lieutenants in a squad. Lieutenants will be able to handle administrative tasks like inviting or removing players, broadcasting messages and sorting subgroups. On top of this, squad leaders will be able to make use of squad markers to mark locations, players and enemies with symbols that appear in-game and on the compass.
Changes in WvW
Though the major WvW overhaul isn’t quite ready yet, additional changes are still on the way. Players who kill enemies in WvW will now have their efforts rewarded more: each enemy player kill will contribute 1 point of War Score to your team. The Secured, Reinforced and Fortified objective upgrade levels are also being changed to trigger after having delivered or received a number of dolyak caravans, rather than being driven by a timer.
Rallying mechanics are also seeing some changes in WvW: The ability to revive defeated (but not downed) players in combat is being taken away, whilst the number of players who can rally off a single kill is being reduced from 5 to 1. Both changes have been implemented to increase the chances of small groups against larger ones.
Tybalt Leftpaw Comes to Stronghold
Unlocked through a new PvP reward track, Tybalt is coming to Champion’s Dusk as the latest Mist Champion!
Eldvin Monastery Sets Up New Brew Club
Eldvin Monastery in Queensdale has set up a new Brew of the Month Club. Each month, club members will receive a package in the mail containing the month’s crafted brew when visiting a major city. Collecting all twelve will reward members with a title, brewer’s backpack skin and a guild decoration.
New Guild Decorations
A new category of Guild Decoration trophies is coming, designed around killing world and raid bosses. You’ll be able to earn tokens by killing such bosses, which you can trade for new decorations at the vendor in your guild hall. Collecting enough decorations will allow you to upgrade them into a larger trophy to showcase your prowess – each trophy will be the custom chest that drops when you defeat the boss!
Better Keybindings & Controls
Action camera, snap ground targetting and autotargetting are receiving new keybindings to allow you to push-to-toggle these features, or hold-to-toggle. Additionally, the names of objects you can interact with can be checked on to always be shown, similar to current options for player, NPC and enemy names.
Major Balance Patch
As talked about in this blog post released on Monday, the first major shake-up to the meta is coming with this patch. Changes to each profession are coming to improve on their weaknesses, and in some cases nerf their OP strong points.
More in 2016
The January 26 patch isn’t the only thing coming in Q1 2016 for Guild Wars 2. The Lunar New Year event makes its return in Divinity’s Reach from January 26 – February 9, with new rewards, Dragon Ball, fireworks and decorations. On top of this, the second raid wing dubbed Salvation Pass is also due to be released, continuing the story from Spirit Vale along with new masteries, rewards and of course bosses. For PvP players, a new season is on its way on February 23, with changes to the rules (more info here) and brand new rewards.
Long-term, Living World Season 3 will make its return with the Pact struggling to regroup following the loss of most of its members. The following teaser is taken from the ArenaNet blog (Heart of Thorns spoilers):
With the recent death of Mordremoth, the Pact and its armies are in disarray with the vast majority of its troops dead or missing. Survivors have begun to regroup or gone home to mourn the dead while the heroes of the great invasion into the jungle investigate a strange disturbance to the north. Within the golden city of Tarir, the last known dragon egg rests protected by the Exalted—but the egg begins to crack. What creature lies within the egg? An enemy or an ally? In other corners of Tyria, the remaining powerful elder dragons continue to expand their control—but what impact will the death of the two of the elder dragons have on them and on Tyria itself? What impact will being held by Mordremoth have on Zojja and Logan? What research will Taimi uncover at Rata Novus? What plans do Anise and the Shining Blade have for Canach? How will the Black Citadel react when they learn of the return of Rytlock? These questions and more await you in season three of Living World! We’ll give you more details as we get closer to its launch.
New fractals are also planned for 2016, along with many more updates to improve the QoL of Fractals of the Mists, including new fractal leaderboards, additional reasons to play different fractals and further polish and balancing.
Out of all these upcoming features, which excite you the most? Let us know in the comments below!