ArenaNet’s blurb for the loose collection of features and foreboding they’re calling Flame and Frost: Prelude speaks of falling skyboxes and rumbling grounds; of a time “when earth and sky seem to have become the enemy”. The first port of call, you might think, would be some sort of preventative measure in the event of a natural disaster. Not for the residents of Tyria, who’ve instead plumped for a somewhat improved achievement system. More on that beyond this exposed fissure we call The Break.
First up is a new currency: the laurel. One laurels will be granted to players each time they complete their daily achievement category, and ten will be given to those who reach their monthly achievement quota. Laurels can be traded with new vendors found in all of Tyria’s major cities, in return for:
- Utility Infusions—a new category of infusion that provides powerful boosts to noncombat statistics, like gold find and experience gain.
- Ascended Amulets—offensive, defensive, and utility variants of the next slot of ascended gear.
- Ascended Rings—non-agony versions of the ascended rings from the Fractals of the Mists.
- Crafting Starter Kits—one-time account purchases that contain everything you’ll need to get your feet wet in each of the eight crafting disciplines.
- WvW Blueprints—everything you need to rain fire on your enemies in the Mists.
- Support Items—new boosters, advanced harvesting tools, and crafting trophy bags.
- Unique Minis—Goedulf, the mythical wolf-cub spirit that protects lost norn kids, and (my personal favorite) the runner-up in the Divinity’s Reach Fanciest Cat competition: Chauncey von Snuffles III.
Here’s von Snuffles III again, for your viewing pleasure:
“The list of rewards will continue to grow and expand as we add content to the game, but we’re committed to the philosophy that you should be able to get the most powerful rewards simply by playing the game the way you want,” said GW2 designer Matt Wuerffel.
Beyond laurels, ArenaNet are updating the game’s existing achievement system with a new tracking UI. It’s designed to provide quicker access to the achievements panel, which will soon include enough new daily achievements for them to be rotated every day.
And the developers don’t plan on resting on their proverbials. ArenaNet want you to be able to play only what interests you. Down the line, that will mean dailies are completed via a subset of favourite achievements from a longer, regularly-changing list.
“We’ll also be adding a reward structure to total achievement points, and we’ll be looking at revamping portions of existing UI to help players understand all the different kinds of content they can play and the types of rewards available,” said Wuerffel. “Once we have that framework in place, we’ll be able to really expand on the content accessible through the achievements system and provide you with even more new and exciting ways to play the game.”
Achievement updates are only one corner of Flame and Frost: Prelude, which we’re told will set the scene for big, long-term happenings in Tyria. Next up is new Ascended gear and Infusions, as well as the introduction of guesting for friends on other servers. More news on that when it comes.
What do you think of the new laurel system? Could you be better rewarded for your achievements in GW2 as it currently stands?