The folks over at ArenaNet just started the ball rolling on the Living World Season 2, with a jaunt into the Maguuma Wastes.
My biggest criticism of season 1 was the lack of new and varied areas to explore: That is firmly scratched off the list for season 2. Prospect Valley, part of the new Dry Top area, is an arid wasteland and vastly different from the landscapes we’ve seen before. The area is filled with various activities for travelling adventurers to get there ravenous teeth into. These include: smashing champions into loot, battling with the Inquest for territory and assisting the locals with mining mishaps. Pretty standard faire but completion of these events will grant your server a little favour with the locals, unlocking more items from merchants, including some exotic and ascended recipes.
Your main method of traversing this area is far from standard: remember those handy dandy Zepherite crystals from the Zephyr Sanctum update? Well they’re back and add a very interesting degree of verticality to the area. For reasons I won’t go into in this article, the Zephyr Sanctum has crash landed, scattering their power crystals all over the shop. They work slightly differently than before, having a time limit as well as a charge limit, but the fire, wind and lightning powers remain the same. This means that you are going to have to be fleet of foot if you want to reach the few hidden nooks and crannies that hide Lost Coins and Buried Locked Chests – the two new “collectable” items. The aforementioned Chests are only revealed during one of the Sandstorms that plague Dry Top. The Sandstorms also reset your favour with the local merchants, meaning there is only a limited time to unlock the fanciest prizes.
Honestly the only thing I dislike about this update is the loading screen. I understand that it sounds petty but it’s hideous. I am a big fan of Guild Wars 2’s brush stroke art style but in recent updates it has gone a bit too far and tipped over the edge toward indiscernible scribblings, possibly produced by someone’s toddler: you can see what it’s supposed to be but it won’t be gracing the fridge door any time soon. Oh and also the Diving Spot at the end of the jumping puzzle can throw itself off a cliff – ironically.