There are other, more pragmatic mysteries too. What is the content update all about? What can we expect? What sort of name do you give to a race of evil, bow-legged crustaceans? Happily, we're equipped to shed a little light on all those and more. Read on for our Lost Shores content primer!Timeline
Everything starts, as we've known for some time, on November 15th. While the Lost Shores event itself won't begin until Friday, Thursday will see the introduction of the patch and the beginning of the free friend referral period. The Lost Shores event kicks off on Friday at 3:00 p.m. EST, and the finale event begins on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST. The event and trial weekend will end Sunday evening.
Once the event is over, we'll still have access to oodles of stuff, like the new dungeon, zone, and PvP map.
Low-level characters and friends recruited for the free trial weekend will be able to take advantage of side-kicking to play level 80 content for the course of the weekend, since the whole goal is to allow them to see all the cool stuff. Side-kicking is not one of the things that will be lingering on after the weekend is over, so be sure to take advantage of it while you can.
The Lost Shores
The one-time Lost Shores event is the belle of the ball, despite all the other content coming in, so let's talk about that first.
The Lost Shores is all about the karka, a race of new-to-us foes from the depths of the sea. After being driven to their surface from their murky hives, the karka settled in Southsun Cove until the Consortium, a merchant outfit from Lion's Arch, got all up in their wheelhouse. Now it's up to players to resolve a grudge match between the karka and basically everyone else.
Aside from being a new type of foe, the karka also bring in new mechanics and skills. Part of the event will involve players racing around Tyria to try to figure out how to damage these baddies. You see, as they mature, karka develop a nigh-impenetrable outer shell, which players will have to get through to start doing meaningful damage. ArenaNet has put in some fancy new shaders to make the effects of damage more visible; as players chip away at the karka, they'll see bits and pieces of shell and armor falling off.
PvP players rejoiced to hear about a new sPvP map that'll be debuting in this patch. This map takes place on one of the Kodan's floating sanctuaries. Called the Temple of the Silent Storm, the location is the Kodan's place of meditation and training. This iceberg map will be "very vertical." Players moving through the rooms of the dojo will find buffs to meditate on and a powerfull boss; killing that boss will result in the killing team gaining ownership of all the capture points in the map.
Fractals of the Mists
ArenaNet's Colin Johanson briefly introduced the brand-new dungeon as one that gets more challenging the farther in you go. Conventional wisdom would suggest that that's nearly always the case, but Johanson left out a key detail: In the Fractals of the Mists dungeon, you can go indefinitely farther in.
The Fractals of the Mists is made up of nine mini-dungeons, each with its own story and environment. A party of five will enter the dungeon and be faced with a random set of three of these dungeons at a time. Upon completing those three, the party will be transported to a hub to rest, repair, and merch -- and the difficulty scale for the dungeon will be raised. Every time the difficulty scale is at an even number, players will face a special boss encounter.
With great challenges come great rewards. The patch will introduce ascended items. Ascended armors are "slightly more powerful than exotics" and can, in some cases, hold slots for infusions. Infusions will allow you to increase your character's power. Guild Wars players are familiar with infusing armor, although I'll be my hat that the process doesn't involve creepy Seers this time 'round.
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