The Festival of the Four Winds
The festival has begun in earnest and heroes from all over Tyria are flocking to the Bazaar and the Crown Pavilion to take part in it. Lion’s Arch lies in ruins but it is not destroyed, the formerly displaced residents have moved back in to the city and are now living amongst the wreckage of the Breachmaker. Services have returned to the city as well, spread out across the city now as opposed to being centrally located like before. Although services have returned, I hope that it will take time to rebuild Lion’s Arch and that the new version will be significantly different from before. The Living Story is about creating an ever-changing world, there’d be no reason to destroy Lion’s Arch if you are just going to rebuild it to what it was before; at least, that is my hopeful thinking process.
The ruins of Lion’s Arch
For the player the festival begins at the Claw Island Portage where a short instance introduces the player to the Master of Peace, leader of the Zephyrites. The instance serves as a pretext for the festival, both the Zephyrites and Divinity’s Reach are hosting events in the name of a Lion’s Arch relief fund to help rebuild the city. As the hero who defeated the villainous Scarlet Briar, you and the major characters from the Living Story are asked to enjoy the festival and be seen doing it to raise morale (let’s just leave aside the question of how many Lion’s Arch residents and Lionguard are at the festival locations and not in their own city). When the scripted dialogue is over there is some optional dialogue that you can read by interacting with the different NPCs in the instance.
Vinnt with the major cast of Living Story season 1. From left: Kasmeer, Marjory, Taimi w/Scruffy, Braham and Rox w/Frostbite
That is just about all the lore content there is in this patch which is not surprising as it is just filler before the start of season 2. Your friends can be found in the open world during the Festival. Braham and Rox are in the Crown Pavilion whilst Kasmeer, Marjory and Taimi can be found in the Labyrnthine Cliifs. As always, if you hang around them long enough you will hear some scripted dialogue but none of it is particularly relevant and is just flavour about the festival. Talking to them yields a small prelude to season 2 in that asking them “What’s next?” they wil leach reply with something along the lines of “finding out what made that roar”. They are referring to the roar of the newly awakened Elder Dragon which we glimpsed at the end of this cinematic.
With the story content completed for now, it’s time to enjoy the festivities. The Bazaar of the Four Winds and the Zephyrites have returned to Labyrinthine Cliffs bringing a number of fun activities. At the bottom of the cliffs you can participate in the Flying Dolyak race every 30 mins at quarter past and quarter to the hour. This sees you rushing to the top using the Zephyrite’s unique Aspects whilst transformed as an unbearably cute dolyak calf, it’s quite funny to see a herd of mini dolyaks dashing, leaping and flying across obstacles on the way to the top. Once you get there, you can join the Aspect Arena and Sanctum Sprint activities, both of which where available last year but Aspect Arena was removed when the Cuthroat Politics patch ended. Aspect Arena is a 5v5 PvP match where players choose one of the three aspects, Sun, Wind or Lightning and are given skills in accordance with their chosen aspect. It’s an enjoyable and fast-paced game the teams collect crystals and try to get them back to base to score points. Sanctum Sprint has been in the game since it’s inception on the daily activities rota but for the duration of the festival is available at any time. In this activity you race with up to eleven other players through a course filled with obstacles, using the three aspects to navigate the treacherous terrain and using a number of power-ups to help yourself or hinder your opponents.
The Aspect Arena
The Crown Pavilion is also back and brings with it the return of the Queen’s Gauntlet and a new event, the Boss Blitz. The Queen’s Gauntlet is a series of twelve bosses designed to challenge solo players, each of them have a unique mechanic that you must overcome in order to defeat them. They are divided in to three tiers but the difficulty of each one varies depending on your class, skill and style of playing. However the final boss in the gauntlet is unquestionably the hardest, Liadri the Concealing Dark. Defeating her will earn you a mini of her as well as the impressive title of “The Blazing Light”, it might take you a few attempts to bring her to her knees (unless you’re a life-stealing Necromancer, then you can bypass the hardest part of the fight). The Boss Blitz event is the large group content that takes place in the lowest levels of the Crown Pavilion which is divided in to six areas representing enemies of Humanity. When the event starts (it is triggered when enough money is donated) each region will spawn a Legendary level boss, players must kill each of the bosses to complete the event and gain the reward. Reward levels are divided in to Gold, Silver and Bronze with gold and silver requiring the players to complete the event within a time limit. The only way to do this is to split everyone up into six evenly sized groups that are suited for each boss since they all have their own special something. Rewards for the Boss Blitz are a lot of champion loot bags and it’s currently a popular farm if you can find a shard that is organised.
The inside of the Crown Pavilion. The suspended platforms are the gauntlet arenas, the central area serves as a safe zone and location to reward vendors whilst the surrounding lower levels are the settings for the Boss Blitz.
Speaking of rewards, a number are available to the player during this patch. All of the festival activities award Festival Tokens which can be traded in for some of the rewards that were only available for completing certain content over the past year. Players also have a chance to get a Favour of the Bazaar/Pavilion in addition to the tokens, combining one of each will give you a Favour of the Festival. You can use these along with tokens to get one of the sovereign weapon skins, a mini panda or a dolyak calf tonic.
There is currently no news on the next update but I expect the second season of the Living Story should be starting soon. Whatever it is, I’ll let you know here so keep coming back.