ArenaNet Owns Me

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So ArenaNet announces the festivities for the Holiday Season 2006:

Even before the grand finale, wherein Dwayna and Grenth promise the crowds gifts to gain their favor, Wintersday will provide many opportunities for wintry fun and presents. Here’s what you can expect:

* The return of two well-known Wintersday quests, which give you the chance to side with Grenth and his grentchies or Dwayna and her snowmen even before their final showdown. Unsure of which deity to support? Try both quests to pick your favorite!
* New for this Wintersday season are two all new quest chains revolving around the two competing holiday gods. Polar bears, reindeer, and devious presents – Oh my!
* Venture into the Underworld for a series of repeatable snowball fights against either the forces of Grenth or the forces of Dwayna. Take control of piles of presents to ensure your side’s victory in this frosty fray.
* For another dose of snowball mayhem, try out the PvP snowball fight. Random forces will unite within an arena to fight for either Grenth or Dwayna. The first team to gather five presents for its patron deity will win the day.
* And, if you believe the old adage that it is better to give than to receive, try your hand at the city event game in Lion’s Arch, Droknar’s Forge, Kamadan, and Ascalon City during the festivities. Deliver presents to the children before the grentchies destroy Wintersday. And you never know, the little urchins might just reward you with something special for your generosity.

* Winter Gift: What surprise will you find inside? “Unwrap” it to find out.
* Snowman Summoner: Need an instant snowman? This gift is for you.
* Eggnog: The holiday season’s staple drink.
* Spiked Eggnog: A more potent glass of nog for the hale and hearty. Please imbibe responsibly—don’t drink and quest.
* Green Candy Cane: The return of the adventurer’s favorite candy treat.
* Rainbow Candy Cane: A different flavor of candy cane that should also make those long days of questing much more enjoyable.
* Yuletide Tonic: Drink this tonic if you want to be one of Dwayna’s little helpers during the festivities.
* Frozen Globs of Ectoplasm: You’ll need some of this collectible item when you get low on Yuletide Tonic.
* Candy Cane Shards: Collect these colorful fragments by questing and competing. The outcome of Wintersday hangs in the balance, and your contribution of Candy Cane Shards may make all the difference. Besides, you never know what somebody might trade for these once the festivities come to a close. Tip: Hold onto those shards until the Wintersday finale and use them for good (or mischievous) intent!
* Fruitcake: A tasty holiday staple that is sure to put a little spring in your step.
* Special Rewards: In the tradition of the season, you’ll receive special headgear during the Wintersday finale. And even better, you’ll get a new means of storing it, as well.

ArenaNet also announces two really nice presents for players of Guild Wars available when the holiday festivities start:

Party Search — A brand new Party Search panel will be added to Guild Wars this December, which will allow players to more easily form groups. Casual and hard-core gamers alike will benefit from this new system, as it will make it easier for players to form parties for some of the tougher quests and missions in the game, find the last cog needed for a fearsome group that can tear through the PvP arenas, or just connect with old friends online to go explore the diverse Guild Wars world.

Reconnect After Disconnect — One of the most player-requested features comes to Guild Wars! If a player gets dropped from the game due to a connection problem, and that player can reconnect within ten minutes, the player’s character will be relocated to the spot of disconnection. If the character was performing an action, such as casting a spell or auto-attacking a target, that character will complete the action as if still connected. If a player is in a group when disconnected, the other members of the party will be notified about the player’s connection problems.

Awesome. A better grouping mechanic, and a way to reconnect to an instance after being disconnected are just about the most popular requests for the game in general. Add on the fact that we’re getting additional storage for holiday items and this will be a very merry Wintersday indeed. I’m crossing my fingers that next year I’ll find additional general storage, a stylist NPC, and an auction house — If that happens my Guild Wars life will be complete.

I also ran across this gem of a thread. Apparently one of the special editions of Guild Wars: Nightfall had a concept art book that contained beautiful concept art, which is now being reposted here online to this thread. Some samples:




Everything in that thread is stunning. An absolute treasure trove. Happy Wintersday, ANet!

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