Throughout this week ArenaNet have been kind enough to show me their next creation, The Lost Shores. You lovely people will be able to experience it from 20:00 GMT tomorrow, where the event kicks off in Lion’s Arch. Before reading on I must state that what I have to say will likely spoil some surprises ArenaNet have tucked away in this update. I’ll only be covering the main event here, leaving the new Dungeon and PVP mode for another post. Stop now if you want to experience everything first hand without prior knowledge.
Otherwise, these are my impressions of The Lost Shores, taken from a guided tour via Arenanet.
The Lost Shores starts at Lion’s Arch. Everything is calm and quiet… if you’re discounting the ongoing dragon threat. When the event starts, players will be treated to a cutscene. The waters in the harbour bubble up, and a merchant ship sinks into the depths. Right on cue, a huge sea creature known as the Karka leaps out of the water and onto land.
What follows is a full scale assault on Lions Arch. West of the Fort Mariners Waypoint, Karka are making their way to the gates. It’s the player’s job to take take the threat head on, to drive them back into the sea.
When I was playing, what I didn’t count on was the Karka being near invulnerable. Their huge shells are built for withstanding vast amounts of damage: they’re practically impervious to our attacks. All we could do was to eliminate the young Karka, whose shells had not matured yet.
The veteran Karka periodically lay eggs which hatch into baby Karka. These run towards you in packs and will either explode or attach themselves to various points on the body, causing a constant condition until removed. You can shake them off by rolling, but you’ll want to save some endurance to roll away from the big Karka’s attacks.
Battling the Karka for the first time is hard. I don’t want to count the amount of times I fell, but then we were attempting an event which is meant for hundreds of people. One quick tech point: the Karka models feature the same technology that allows each of their legs to stand on different heights of terrain.
Speaking of technology, ArenaNet have introduced visible damage indicators. The Karka are pioneering this new visual effect: you’ll notice that as they’re beaten down, pieces of their armour fall off their bodies. It gives a nice sense of feedback.
Eventually the Karka will retreat into the sea, but not before vandalising the scenery. One veteran Karka leaves via the lighthouse, the last remaining structure from the old Lion’s Arch before it was destroyed. As a lore-hound myself, it was a sad sight to see. More than ever, I wanted to take the fight to them.
Before that was possible however, we needed to find a way to bypass those shells. Before long we weretravellingacross Tyria to speak to all the aquatic races. With their collective knowledge we found a solution. Now we were ready for a fair fight.
The Karka attack Lion’s Arch for a second time: but will again be defeated and forced to retreat.
That’s when players take the fight to their home turf: Southsun Cove, where nothing is what it seems.
In our demo, we quickly established that there is another force in play here, calling themselves the Consortium. Think of them as a doppelganger of the Black Lion Trading Company: merchants with an eye for profit. It was the Consortium that disturbed the Karka on Southsun Cove, which in turn led them straight to Lion’s Arch. On the one hand we have the Lionsguard, who want to eliminate the Karka threat, and on the other we have the Consortium, desperate to recoup their investment as their new island resort is ruined.
ArenaNet have hidden a buckets of new treasure across the island. Level 80 crafting nodes are all over the place: alongside a new plant node called “Pisaflora”. You’ll also find vendors selling over 200 new crafting recipes. Crafters: this is your moment.
Retaking the beach front is the first priority. Working together we slowly drove them out, and established siege weapons to ensure it’s safety. A choice then appeared in the form of two paths. One with the Consortium, to try and find their camps and salvage what they can. The other was with the Lionguard, to get supplies to those in need. We went with the latter, cutting trees down to get the supplies through while being ambushed by the Karka and other indigenous species.
After battling a champion Karka to wrest an abandoned camp from its clutches, we skipped a few events to head to their nesting grounds. Being the very heart of their home, the environment was filled with coral like nests. It was a nice contrast from the sandy beaches and tropical trees from before, reminding me of the Jade Sea from the original game.
Nostalgia aside, this is where my impressions end. Anything past this point is relating to the big finale planned for Sunday at 20:00 GMT.
The Lost Shores jam packed with combat, lore and new goodies, the perfect recipe for an content update. For those not familiar with Guild Wars 2, this and many other planned updates are completely free.I’veplayed roughly 15 hours of Lost Shores andI’mstill excited to play it when it hits the live client tomorrow.
If that’s not an indication on if you should be excited, I don’t know what is.