The new episode that was released earlier today takes players to the Domain of Kourna. The new area is located in the southern regions of Elona.
In the new map, players are able to explore Gandara, the Moon Fortress, and its surrounding regions. Most, if not all, of the map is dedicated to setting the stage for the assault on Palawa Joko, especially considering players travel to it via a portal Blish sets up for the commander to scout ahead.
However, aside from the story, Domain of Kourna also features the sixth new mount, a new meta event that takes place in and around the Moon Fortress, several Renown Hearts quests and Dynamic Events that are designed around the idea of helping out the region, and new Griffon challenges.
Without spoiling too much, players initially find themselves in Amnoon City where they team up with Taimi, Gorrik and Blish. It is here that events unfold that will send them on a journey that takes them to the new map.
As the story advances, the episode has players attempt to confront Joko with plenty of plot twists and new gameplay mechanics to experience along the way.
The story itself focuses on the Scarabs Plague, an ancient, deadly plague that wipes out humans. Because other races are not susceptible to the virus human characters fulfill support roles only.
Early on, it becomes clear that Palawa Joko has access to the plague. He wants to unleash it and it is your goal to contain it.
The most interesting gameplay mechanics in this episode are the signet ring that is able to break illusions, the cloaking device that is used to take out or hide from enemies, and the plague scarabs that can coalesce to perform a devastating attack.
Making your way through his fortress is fun and engaging because of the gameplay mechanics used. A key component of this experience is the signet ring used to break illusions. This ring powers various puzzles you have to solve along your way. Having played through it several times, I consider these puzzles to be of low to medium difficulty.
The finale itself is on a whole other level when compared to previous Living World episodes. The way Palawa Joko is portrayed: his writing, his voice-overs, his character detail and even the sound effects that are audible when Joko pounds his staff on the ground all make for a truly unforgettable experience.
In addition, the cinematography of the finale is something I have not seen in previous Guild Wars 2 content, which gives you an idea of the high production value. In fact, the final scene is so enjoyable that it makes me wish all of the future Living World story content would be this well made. Time will tell if this will be the case going forward.
The Roller Beetle Mount
Perhaps the most interesting new addition introduced with this Living World episode is Petey the Roller Beetle.
Unlike the previous five mounts, which were all native to the environment and were already bred and adapted to be mounts, the Roller Beetle is first mentioned in this episode when Gorrik discovers an ancient Roller Beetle sample and uses it for research purposes.
Not long after, Gorrik introduces you to Petey when he mentions to the commander that his beetle is growing and that there is a possibility he might be useful on the front line.
After this conversation, you gain access to the collection required to unlock him as a mount.
The collection itself focuses on Petey’s health and has you collect food to make him feel better. As you progress through the collection, you build a relationship with him and ultimately unlock him as a mount.
The saddle that you get is Asuran technology that allows the player to hover on the back of the beetle. According to developers, riding Petey with this saddle should not be seen as mind control, but rather as an act of friendship: Petey simply takes you to where you need to go.
The three available masteries are the Wrecking Ball, Barrier Smash and Big Air.
Technically speaking, the new episode brings three new mastery lines, which is not something that has been done before in Living World episodes.
Once you have unlocked all masteries, Roller Beetle mount training is a fun side activity to test and improve your racing skills.
For a more in-depth look at the new Roller Beetle mount, its abilities, history and development be sure to check out our separate feature article.
The meta event
The new meta is designed to be a side activity to the personal story. In the event, Palawa Joko works together with the Inquest. He has set up an Awakened Inquest facility inside Gandara, the Moon Fortress, where they experiment with the scarabs plague to try to make it more virulent to make it spread faster.
The goal of the meta event is to get inside the facility and destroy the experiment to set the team back.
In order to achieve this goal, you have to take down a necrotic field that has been set up around the facility.
The first step doing this is to collect spare parts from the Awakened and Inquest Awakened that you can use to reprogram Inquest cannons set up in the area to help you instead of work against you.
Ultimately, the reprogrammed cannons will siege Gandara and stop the enchantments that power the necrotic field around the lab. Once the field is disabled, the assault on the facility begins.
The new episode also adds a new Fractal to the game: the Deepstone Fractal. Although we were not able to play the fractal during our session, the Fractal is expected to feature roughly the same type of mechanics found in the story, but with a more complex set up and with higher risks and rewards.
The legendary warhorn Verdarach
Last but not least, the update also introduces the next legendary weapon. This time around, the legendary weapon is a warhorn and it is called “Verdarach”.
The new weapon is larger than other warhorns featured in the game and has a connection to the Primeval ghost army that supports you in the episode: when you use the weapon ghosts appear and rush toward your enemies.
To summarize, in Living World Season 4 Episode 3 players get access to the continuation of the Living World story, a new area to explore, a new mount to unlock, a new meta event to experience, a new Fractal to test your skills in, and the new legendary warhorn.
Guild Wars 2’s Living World Season 4 Episode 3 is now available. 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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