If the sun and sandy beaches didn't give it away, I've spent most of the last week or so of Guild Wars 2 time in Southsun Cove. Karka Island! Sunny Orr! Whatever you call it, I hope we can all agree that Southsun Cove is a terrible place filled with awful monsters that nobody in their right mind, in-universe or otherwise, would ever want to visit without the lure of titles and shiny -- literally, one of them glows, and the other glistens -- backpieces.
The last week has seen players traveling to Southsun Cove in veritable waves in pursuit of goodies. In case you're unaware: The latest content update, The Secret of Southsun, is channeling players over to, well, Southsun Cove.
It's been quite the experience. On one hand, Southsun is still, in the humble opinion of yours truly, about three times worse than Orr in terms of how annoying the monsters are. I've been able to make my way around fairly comfortably on auto-leveled characters, but that does nothing to make the Karka any more charming. It's not a place for the unwary, as anyone who's jauntily run off to escort Demolitionist Varrv as he plants explosives only to be overrun by dozens of skittering nasties can attest.
On the other hand, though, this is the first time since the Lost Shores Weekend that Southsun has been so flooded with players. I'm a big fan of having lots of people around me in PvE, so having groups around for nearly every event I run across has been great fun.
There are about 35 achievements that we know of related to the Secret of Southsun living story. A handful of them won't be available until the Last Stand at Southsun content comes out on May 28th. Completing any 25 of the Southsun achievements will unlock a Sclerite Karka Shell backpiece.
If 25 achievements sounds intimidating, fear not! About 12 of them are linked together: There's a meta achievement called Southsun Volunteer Fieldwork that you earn by helping Researcher Levvi collect plant samples, and each individual sample is worth its own achievement. You need a total of 10 samples for the meta achievement, but there are 11 sites you can visit. One of them is at the end of a jumping puzzle that some people find particularly heinous; being able to complete the meta achievement without visiting that is ArenaNet's way (I presume) of trying not to punish the uncoordinated.
The upside of lugging a combat-useless gun all over the island is the Fervid Censer backpiece that comes as a reward for the meta achievement. It's a glowing yellow flower (leading me to wish, for the first time, for a dye channel on backpieces. Remember how we talked about my altoholism last week? I didn't have a character that matched that
The big meta achievement, the one that rewards the Sclerite backpiece, has also been made to be as non-punishing as possible. I mentioned that you have to get only a subset of the Southsun achievements to earn it; the numbers work out perfectly so that you can get the achievement now without setting foot into Crab Toss. Well, without doing anything more than setting foot inside the arena. There's an achievement handed out for simply entering the arena, and that's the only one I've got.
If you decide that this sounds like a pleasant way to pass an afternoon, there is booty to be had. The top player in each match receives two green-or-better items and some crafting materials or a potion. Anyone who scores at least one point can receive a single green-or-better and a Karka shell. Those of
Southsun supply crates are available from the gem store or at a tiny drop chance from monsters on the island. They have a chance to drop crafting materials, armor and weapon skins from our last go at Southsun, consumables, a mini Bikini Faren or Bikini Kasmeer, or a Sclerite Weapon Claim Ticket. This, coupled with my absolute dearth of luck regarding RNG with these types of boxes, makes me very happy that I'm utterly squicked out by the Sclerite weapons. They're fleshy, have blinking eyes, and seem to be perpetually dripping some sort of ichor.
Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.