Guild Wars: Canthan New Year, part 2

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Followup on some of the other things at the Canthan New Year’s weekend…

The big one for me was Dragon Arena, shown in the screenshots below.

Dragon Arena is sort of like instagib for Guild Wars. Every player is reduced to 100 health maximum, something like 20 energy, and all skillbars are set to 3 skills: Dragon Blast, which is a fiery projectile that deals 100 damage, some other skill (Imperial Majesty?) which is a melee-range attack that deals 80 damage and knocks the targeted player down, and a skill (Trade Winds?) that increases your run speed for a few seconds.

Despite the apparent simplicity of Dragon Arena, it’s actually quite a fun gametype. The irritating thing about typical Guild Wars PvP for me is that there’s such a variety of skills, with 8 skills per teammate and 8 teammates per team, that the combinations are effectively infinite. You’ll never know what you’ll face, and if you happen to be playing a specific build there’s no way to adapt to counter another team’s build mid-game. Dragon Arena puts everyone on equal footing, and reduces the number of things you need to think about in Guild Wars PvP from infinite things, to merely: Movement, enemy positioning, team positioning, and appropriate timing of skill usage.

To me, that in itself is quite enough. It boils down the elements of PvP to the most skill-based elements, like seeing your teammate about to get Dragon Blasted and putting Trade Winds on him so he can dodge out of the way, and so on, rather than emphasizing the memorization and metaknowledge that are important in typical Guild Wars PvP (not to mention the sheer randomness factor of running up against a build that is a gimmick solely designed to shut down whatever build you are running).

Aside from Dragon Arena, there was Rollerbeetle Arena, which I’ve done before but didn’t get a chance to do that weekend — I’ve gotten discouraged from doing it anyway because I regularly get pings of about 300-500 to ArenaNet’s servers, which means constant “rubberbanding” that makes it impossible to reliably navigate a race course when your client and the server keep disagreeing about where you’re located. Not to mention many people suspect the top racers to be cheating (given that all of the top 100 scores seemed to be held by 2 people, this would not surprise me).

Another event taking place during the Canthan New Year was the opening of the Shing Jea Boardwalk, which houses a couple of games — Nine Rings and another ring-based game, both of which are simple chance-based gambling, as well as a “Tag” game of sorts with worms, where players that tag worms earn points to win.

One of the big things for me was that I wanted to get a Celestial Rat minipet — You may have seen one in some of my previous screenshots. Supposedly this item had around a .04 chance to be obtained from Lunar Fortunes. Lunar Fortunes could be traded for using Lunar Tokens, and Lunar Tokens could be gotten by participating in the Dragon Arena, Rollerbeetle Arena, some of the Board games … But the most lucrative way to get the tokens seemed to be doing the festival-related quests.

So I set out to complete all of the festival quests. A couple involved simply taking materials to craftsmen to make fireworks. But my main quests had me travelling to one of the villages on Shing Jea Island to scare off fearsome “Nian” creatures with sparklers and bottle rockets …

Above we have some pictures of the village that was going to be attacked by Nian…

Once I had scared off the Nian I set out to fight the Knights who Say Nian, notorious for attempting to spoil each Canthan New Years’ celebration. Some of the screenshots I took as I searched for the Knights are below…

Eventually the Knights were defeated (it was a tough battle indeed because I was travelling totally alone, with no henchmen or heroes), and the festival went off with a bang. Looking forward to see what else ArenaNet cooks up for these things.

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