We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Guild Wars 2 Dragon Bash hands-on: stop giggling at the back


Tyria hates dragons. They hate them so much that every year they hold the Dragon Bash, a festival in Lions Arch dedicated to… you get the point. Activities available include Dragon Ball (dodgeball with balls of fire), Moa racing, pinatas and spectacular firework shows. I’ve been poking around the festival ahead of its launch tomorrow in Guild Wars 2.

Naturally there’s also a ton of loot to be had and a great selection of Dragon’s Jade weapon skins. I spent some time trialing the festival and it’s a lot of fun. 

But fun things don’t last for long.

The festival pays homage to the Dragon Festival from the original Guild Wars. It reinforces Tyria’s defiance against the dragons that wage war and destruction upon her citizens.


Lions Arch has spared no expense in decorations and festive cheer. Fireworks, costumes and dragon pinatas litter the city, with a giant holographic dragon modeled after the notorious Shatterer taking centre stage in the plaza. Players can gamble their cash on Moa Racing, a new permanent addition to Lions Arch. Bet on your favourite Moa to try and win tickets, which can be exchanged for bags of money or a rare mini Moa pet.

The Dragon Bash also extends outside of Lions Arch. Holographic projectors have been scattered all throughout Tyria which when triggered, spawn a random holographic foe. Upon its defeat players are rewarded with a Dragon Coffer which can contain anything from money to sweets.


If these festivities get you in a competitive mood, then Dragon Ball is just for you. It’s a fast paced game of dodgeball which pays tribute to Quake. The team behind it wanted a really fast paced PvP map which doesn’t relent until the very end. Respawn times are short, minimising the time you’re out of the action to just a few seconds. Power-up orbs are littered around the map in strategical positions. These can range from extra skills, health and even a buff in the center which renders you invisible. The arena also features ways to traverse the map at speed: spring platforms will shoot you up into the air, while launch platforms will flng you forward in a direction. You can actually chain these together to soar through the arena and rain destruction on your opponents.

It really does feel like an arcade-like Quake. Once you get used to the map and learn the locations of all the powerful buffs it transforms into a very fluid experience, duels usually coming down to who has the best twitch. There’s also a lot of secret techniques to gain the advantage too. A developer demonstrated that dodge rolling onto a spring platform will shoot you up considerably higher, enabling you to reach previously impossible places.

With all festivals comes a finale, and Dragon Bash is no exception. Starting on June 14th Lions Arch will hold a fireworks display every two hours. It’s quite the show: fireworks pelt the giant holographic Shatterer dragon in a dazzling array of colour. If you attend the finale you will receive a Dragon Helm, which you can actually wear in combat, unlike previous cosmetic rewards.


Speaking of rewards, let’s run through what’s in it for you avid collectors out there. I’ve already mentioned the Dragon Helm, pictured above with a fancy set of Holographic Shatterer Wings. Those wings can be obtained by anyone who completed the Dragon Bash Meta achievement, which shouldn’t be difficult. For those more persistent you can also obtain a Dragon Wing variant of the back piece which are available as a rare drop from Dragon Ball or in exchange for a large amount of Dragon Bash candy, Zhaitaffy.

There’s also a large selection of Dragon’s Jade weapon skins, with a variant for each weapon type. These skins are some of the most beautiful skins I’ve seen to date. You can check the weapon skin merchant out at the top of the trading post. Finally you can get your hands on two exclusive mini pets. Win enough tickets at Moa Racing to earn a comical Helmed Moa Racer, or get lucky opening a Dragon Coffer for a Hologram Minion.


ArenaNet haven’t held themselves back in this content patch, with something for every type of player. I’ll no doubt be sampling everything there is to offer when the content goes live tomorrow, but I’ll probably spend the majority of my time in Dragon Ball. It only makes me yearn that these festive competitive games could live on in a separate PvP map pool.

Be wary though. With Lions Arch drunk off festive cheer, she’s all the more ripe for someone to spoil the party. And no spoilers here, but it’s going to end on a bang.