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Hands-on: Guild Wars 2 Living World Season 4 Episode 4

The new episode continues this season's roller-coaster ride

by
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 17:32 BST
Hands-on: Guild Wars 2 Living World Season 4 Episode 4
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 17:32 BST
by


On the heels of Guild Wars 2's third Living World episode of this season, the fourth episode releases today. This new episode focuses on the young dragon Aurene.


The new "A Star to Guide Us" episode gives players access to the new explorable zone Jahai Bluffs. This area is located north of the previous map, Domain of Kourna, but doesn't have a direct gate connected to it.

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Traveling further north from Domain of Kourna means players get closer to the area most affected by Kralkatorrik's magic. This is why Jahai Bluffs can be considered one of the most dangerous maps to travel through. Branded will attack you every chance they get, often throwing you off your mount as you try to avoid them.

Because the story takes us closer to Kralkatorrik, environment artists went all out to bring to life the chaos caused by the Elder Dragon. Its iconic purple brand can be seen on a significant portion of the map - resulting in awe-inspiring sceneries.

Not only that, the new area also features threats we haven't seen before, such as giant vortex tornadoes, which throw players high in the air, and giant magic spheres that mark points of interests linked to event chains.
Flying through on a Griffon provides a clear view of the chaos
The vortex tornado spawns and moves all over the map dynamically. These tornadoes can be seen as both hazards and a helpful tools as they give players a way to fly up high in the sky for an overview of the area.

Without spoiling the story, the new episode meets the expectations we got from the trailer that released last Wednesday. If anything, my only gripe is that the episode ends just as it significantly moves the story forward - a typical cliffhanger, perhaps.

About half way through the episode players will make their way to Sun's Refuge in a way that fits the narrative and unlocking permanent access is as straightforward as playing through the story.


Sun's Refuge


Those who are into collections and earning achievements will find tremendous value in the new personal character instance Sun's Refuge. This instance upgrades whenever you complete specific collections.

Some of these upgrades may be more useful than others, but the instance is visually affected by major objectives you complete. One of these upgrades is a Training Arena that allows you to fight against friends or NPCs.

In addition, the instance is said to contain a lot of secrets and voiced dialog to be discovered. One of these secrets has to do with excavating a part of the instance and another has to do with a timed floor puzzle.

Completing collections and uncovering secrets will send players to various places on both old and new maps.

Unlocking every upgrade in Sun's Refuge is not something that can be done within a week. These upgrades were specifically designed to keep players occupied for an extended period of time and the studio hopes that players will, over time, continue to find secrets that may be more difficult to find.
The new personal character instance Sun's Refuge
The personal instance has three entrances and one of them has a waypoint right on the Asura gate. In addition, players are able to unlock a portal stone that grants them instant access from anywhere.

Friends can also travel into your personal instance when you invite them to your party, but all progress earned will be determined by the instance owner to ensure that all player see the exact same content.

Aside from the collections and secrets, a noteworthy mention is golem "PJKT D33-J4Y": a music golem that instantly plays songs selected from a large list of available soundtracks from Guild Wars Nightfall, Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire and Guild Wars 2 Living World Season 4 - a great addition that allows fans to revisit nostalgic tracks.


New mount mastery


The new update also brings a new mount mastery to the game: Bond of Vigor. This new mastery boosts mount endurance regeneration. This mastery is particularly useful with the new Roller Beetle mount because this mount starts with no endurance when you first mount it.

Activating the mastery skill gives players five seconds of fast regeneration to allow them to get out of tight situations fast.
Activating the Bond of Vigor skill to increase mount endurance regeneration
Of course, the new skill also works on the older mounts, providing more flaps on the Griffon and more jumps on the Springer, but it seems to be the most useful on the Roller Beetle, and, perhaps, the least useful on the Skimmer.

The mastery is part of the Crystal Champion masteries and costs four mastery points to unlock, provided you have already unlocked the previous two masteries, Volatile Magic Resonance and Bond of Life.


New armor set and legendary weapon


Players can start working on unlocking the new armor set as soon as they complete the new episode. It is said to be unlocked by completing a set of collections given to you by an awakened armorsmith located in the western part of Sun's Refuge.

The new armor has two tiers that can be acquired, of which tier two has a considerable amount of glowing elements that are fully dyeable.

The portion of the community that has been asking for more armor sets with normal pants will be particularly ecstatic, because this armor set features exactly that.
Some dye channels of the new Requiem armor set will affect its glowing elements
The set can be complemented with the new legendary scepter Xiuquatl. This new weapon is particularly interesting because it features a companion minion that appears when it is wielded.

For its design, the game's developers took inspiration from ancient water cultures and the totem model of the scepter itself is surrounded by pulsating effects. Because this is a legendary weapon footfalls are also visible when you walk around while wielding it.

Ultimately, both the new armor set and legendary weapon will take some effort to unlock and an unspecified amount of gold will also be required in addition to completing collections.



Last but not least, those who enjoy raids will be happy to know that this content release will include the forth raid wing "Mythwright Gambit", in which players enter the Mystic Force to face the djinn Zommoros, but exact details will have to be discovered after the update's release.

All of the new content will be added to the game with today's release of Living World Season 4 Episode 4. Those who already own the Path of Fire expansion pack can log in to unlock the new episode free of charge for a limited time only.

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