The time has come to leave Labyrinthine Cliffs behind. As the Zephyr Sanctum departs, the citizens of Tyria look towards the next event to behold: and it just so happens that August holds Queen Jennah’s tenth anniversary on the Krytan throne. That’s right, for this month’s Living World update we’re casting our gazes north to Kryta, and notably Divinity’s Reach. The Jubilee is upon us and the whole of Tyria is invited! So hop on your nearest giant balloon and hold on tight as one thing’s for sure – this celebration’s just getting started!
Thanks to the good folks at ArenaNet, GuildMag – along with a select group of other websites – has had the privilege to preview the Queen’s Jubilee patch ahead of its release on Tuesday, 6th August. Unlike previous preview days, invited press were not given access to the content on a first-hand basis; we were instead treated to a live presentation by ArenaNet developers with opportunities to ask questions relating to the content throughout the presentation. This guide contains everything we’ve learned ahead of release day and should serve as a useful entrée before the main course tomorrow. Enjoy!
The Story Behind the Celebration
It’s been ten years since Queen Jennah took to the Krytan throne. To mark this marvellous occation, Queen Jennah and the human city of Divinity’s Reach are celebrating in style. But there’s more to this celebration than just Jennah’s rule; the whole of Tyria is in the midst of a war against their greatest ever threat – the Elder Dragons – but the human race is still clinging on, strong and resillient. The Queen’s Jubilee is more than a celebration of the human monarchy; it’s a celebration of human life and their will to survive.
To mark the occasion, Divinity’s Reach has been transformed. The Great Collapse, once an unused, ominous hole in the ground, has been developed into the Crown Pavillion – a new gladiatorial arena symbolising all that is good about humanity. On top of this, Beacons of Kryta scatter the city, spreading the light of humanity.
Working secretly, Queen Jennah has been developing new technology. Now, beginning her eleventh year on the throne, she is ready to reveal all. The Watchknights are brand new, mechanical clockwork humanoids with one sole purpose: to protect the Queen, Divinity’s Reach and the home of the humans. These beings will not replace the Seraph, Ministry Guard or Shining Blade, but serve to bolster defences instead. Representing innovation and technological advancement, the Watchknights take pride of place around (and inside) the Crown Pavillion.
The Crown Pavillion
The Great Collapse has been rebuilt, and on that site now stands the Crown Pavillion. Access to the Pavillion can be found directly behind the Crown Pavillion waypoint via a portal. This new arena houses multiple pieces of temporary Living World content: upon entering for the first time, you’ll be taken to an instanced story which sets up what’s happening in and around the capital. This provides context for the whole event and serves as a somewhat of a guide to how to participate in such content. In the story, you’ll encounter some familiar faces such as Lord Faren, Countness Anise, Queen Jennah, Logan Thackery and even Braham and Rox from the Flame & Frost content earlier this year. Also helping to tie up previous content, the story instance will explain the reasons behind the Aetherblade attacks. Unfortunately we were not shown the story instance so cannot provide any more detail on exactly what’s contained in it – but it’s more fun that way! Once you’ve completed the story instance, you’ll be free to explore and participate in both the Queen’s Gauntlet (info on that below) and events within the Pavillion.
So what exactly happens in this arena? In a nutshell, it’s all about killing enemies from humanity’s past (and present). Split into six equal segments around the circular arena, each segment contains a different type of enemy: centaurs, pirates, Flame Legion, ogres, destroyers and bandits. It’s up to you to take down these enemies with the help of players around you – what’s great is that the entire Pavillion, once you’ve completed the story, is not instanced and is open to everyone. Designed to be challenging for 30+ players, each segment is tightly populated with enemies and a boss which deals massive amounts of AoE damaged to break up zergs. On top of this, every active event/segment (there’s one event per segment, hence six events overall) will give a different debuff to all players; as an example, if the pirate event is active, cannon balls may fall down on players from the sky. Yet to counter this, in the centre of the arena stand six emissaries which when spoken to will grant a unique buff to you.
All the creatures you’ll find in this area of the Pavillion are actually Watchknights disguised by illusionary mesmer magic to resemble enemies of the human race. Because of this, killing them will reward a new currency: Watchwork parts, as well as Queen’s Gauntlet Tickets (see the Gauntlet section below for what these are used for). These parts, as described on the release page, can be used as currency in the Pavillion to buy, amongst other things, Sovereign Weapons, or in new crafting recipes.
The Queen’s Gauntlet
Going up against Watchknights guised as enemies isn’t the only activity taking place in the Crown Pavillion. Another is the Queen’s Gauntlet: a series of one on one PvE fights against a boss in the quest to become the Queen’s next champion. Access to the Gauntlet is via suspended glass domes above the Pavillion floor, connected by glass ramps and accessible only by speaking to a Ringmaster NPC. To participate, you must have at least one Gauntlet Ticket.
It doesn’t matter which dome you go to; every boss can be fought in every dome. So why have multiple domes? Like the rest of the Pavillion, being inside the Gauntlet and fighting a boss is not instanced; all other players are able to see how you’re faring by looking into the domes from their glass rooves. This does mean that players have to queue to fight, but gives potential champions the ability to showboat and show off their m4d sk1llz.
There are three tiers of difficulty, with the first tier designed to be a relatively easy introduction to this piece of content. Each boss has a unique mechanic to it which you must overcome in order to succeed; your standard PvE build may not work on every boss in the Gauntlet. Defeating the first three bosses in a tier will unlock a fourth champion boss, designed to be harder than the others, which you must defeat to progress to the next tier. To choose exactly who you wish to fight, speak to the Fight Manager NPC next to the Rightmaster before entering. When you’re actually inside the Gauntlet, you only have a set amount of time to kill the boss – if you go over, the floor of the dome will literally disappear beneath you and you’ll plummet to the bottom of the Pavillion, quite probably to your (hilarious) death. Tier champions have a longer time limit than ‘normal’ bosses due to their difficulty. If, however, you are successful, you’ll be instantly teleported back out of the dome to the Ringmaster so you may queue up again if so you wish. The lucky ones may even make it all the way to the third tier champion; killing this boss will reward an exclusive minipet – but be warned, out of sixty alpha testers only 5 were able to beat the end champion.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, the devs have added another dimension to this activity: gambits. By paying an extra ticket per gambit, you’re able to purposefully impose debuffs on yourself to increase the difficulty, at the payoff of higher rewards and completing specific Gauntlet achievements. Examples include one gambit that will impose permanent burning on you until the boss is killed, and another which will prevent endurance regeneration – leaving you with only 2 dodges for the entire fight.
Beacons of Kryta
Outside of the Crown Pavillion, the rest of Divinity’s Reach has been scattered with Beacons of Kryta – flammable braziers that you’re tasked with lighting. This fun mini-game-style activity requires players to undertake a point-to-point race, lighting all the beacons along the path using a torch with a limited time duration. What makes this different is that the path to light all the beacons isn’t necessarily a linear one; to be successful, you will have to scramble around various ramps, buildings and backroads to efficiently light each beacon before your torch runs out of juice. It doesn’t matter which order they’re lit in – just make sure you’ve spread the light to them all!
To get started with this content, look for Torchbearer NPCS (there’s one located at the Plaza of Lyssa next to the Priest).
It’s not just in Divinity’s Reach that the Jubilee content is being deployed. All across Tyria (with the exception of Southsun Cove and Orr), giant ballons can be found to take you on a one-way trip to the human capital for free. Visible from far away, you’ll be able to see giant balloons scattered across the environment. To use these, simply speak with a Ballon Pilot located at the base of each balloon. Yet in doing so, you’ll also be triggering a dynamic event. New events centred around the ballons have been created, ranging from escorting dignitaries to the balloons to fending off attacking Aetherblades. Every event triggered is random; some will only show up rarely whilst others will be more common, though all will be scaled to the area they’re situated in, making them doable by any character at an appropriate level to the area.
ArenaNet have stated that part of the design philosophy around the balloons was to reduce the in-game mail sent to players regarding Living World content. Rather than opening mail and being directed to where the action is happening (here, Divinity’s Reach), the balloons serve as giant markers to draw players to them.
Queen’s Jubilee Achievements
The achivements for this update are split into two different categories: Queen Jennah’s Jubilee and the Queen’s Gauntlet. This allows players who would prefer to avoid boss vs. player combat to participate in the rest of the content and still receive the full rewards for it; similar to previous Living World achievement categories, completing 16 within the Jubilee category will award a Watchknight miniature.
And that’s it for the Living World preview. I’d like to take a moment to thank Steve (GettCouped) for being our representative at the live presentation, and everyone at ArenaNet for including GuildMag in this patch preview and making such an awesome job of it.
If you’re still hungry for more, don’t forget to check out our preview article on the permanent content coming with this patch.