As you leave the shattered remains of the Sky Pirate Aetherblades behind, you repair your armour, bandage the cuts and bruises from one too many falls from the top of the Not So Secret jumping puzzle, and set your sights for a new horizon. The workers are taking down the Dragon Bash decorations, and talk is of a new ship docked in the harbour, one with a new Captain ready to whisk you away to Labyrinthine Cliffs and the fantastic spectacle which awaits you there.
The Bazaar of the Four Winds is ArenaNet’s first big patch since they announced their fortnightly cycle of content updates. True to their word, following on from the success of the Sky Pirates of Tyria, The Bazaar of the Four Winds will drop on Tuesday July 9th — two weeks after the Aetherblades first struck Lion’s Arch – and will be open for the next 4 weeks, after which the Bazaar will end and there will no longer be access to the new zone. GuildMag and a select few other Guild Wars 2 fansites and community members were given exclusive early access to the content, and the following preview and attached guides will give you all the info you need to jump into this strange, bustling and dangerous new content fully equipped.
- Whats the Story? — Get clued up on the living story behind this new and exciting update.
- The Bazaar of the Four Winds — What is it? Where is it?
- The Mini-games — Learn about Belcher’s Bluff, Sanctum Sprint, and the Scavenger Hunt.
- Quartz — Learn about this arcane new crafting material.
- The Loot — Who doesn’t love shiny new loot?
- The new Achievement System — Cash in on those achievement points.
- Skyhammer — The exciting new sPvP map.
The attack on the Lion’s Arch council left a single council member dead. The culprits of this attack — Mai Trin and her Aetherblades — have been brought to justice, but the fact remains: there is a seat on the Captain’s Council for those with the stones to vie for it. Two major candidates have emerged from the people: Ellen Kiel — Lionguard Investigator and newly promoted Airship Captain, Karka Slayer, and Effigy Abuser, and Evon Gnashblade — Black Lion Trading Company CEO, gem trader, and Fun-box Flogger.
Both these capable candidates would serve the city well, but in order to really prove their worth, talk in the city is that they must secure a lucrative trade contract with the mysterious Zephyr Sanctum (currently docked at The Bazaar of the Four Winds). Ellen and Evon travel to Labyrinthine Cliffs and into the Bazaar to get to know these curious cloud-dwelling folk and attempt to curry favour with them.
The future of the city of Lion’s Arch may depend on the dealings and negotiations which will take place over the next few weeks — and you can guarantee that things won’t always be smooth sailing.
The Bazaar itself is accessible from the Lion’s Arch docks — much like when you first travel to Southsun Cove. Simply speak to the Travel Facilitator standing at the end of the pier.
When you step off the boat you’re confronted with a vast cliff-side dotted with kites, awnings, lanterns and pillars. The architecture is reminiscent of Cantha and Kaineng: because of the obvious oriental influences and the closely built-up atmosphere. Cast your eyes skywards and you can see the gigantic Zephyr Sanctum Airship docked high above you.
Due to the visit of the Zephyr Sanctum, merchants from across the land have flooded to the Cliffs take advantage of the trading opportunities and to mingle with the ordinarily cloud-locked folk. Consequently you’ll be able to pick up some familiar and not-so-familiar items as you explore the bazaar, but be warned — some of the shadier vendors across the city might not appreciate you fiddling with their merchandise for too long, believe me!
In order to move around the sprawling structure, you will have to take advantage of the various “Aspects” gifted to the Bazaar by the Zephyr Sanctum. Represented by floating coloured crystals (the Sanctum love crystals) these movement buffs will swap out your weapon skills for one epic movement skill. These include:
Use the Aspect of Wind to jump extremely high.
A super-jump allowing you to reach high up places and traverse to floating platforms.
Light Dash/Sun Break:
Dash forward at the speed of light/Stop moving at the speed of light.
A “dash” style skill which changes you into a spark of bright sunlight — allows you to pass unhindered through waterfalls and other obstacles.
Use lightning to pull yourself to the target location.
Ordinarily a long-distance group targeted “leap” skill, when standing on specified areas it allows you to jump effortlessly from one “Storm Anchor” to another.
You pick up the above skills simply by walking through the crystal. The skills will allow you to reach far flung and inaccessible areas across the Bazaar and the Zephyr Sanctum, and so ArenaNet have built a “Scavenger Hunt” style minigame into the exploration of this bustling and curious hotspot (more on the minigames later in this preview).
Once you have mastered these three skills you can make your way to the top of the Bazaar to find the docked airship — the Zephyr Sanctum.
The Sanctum is a vast ship — covered in scaffolding, sails, and stock. It is home to countless merchants and storytellers and supposedly rarely docks on land. Consequently, as you move around you will have the chance to interact with people who have been separated from the struggles of those who toil on the ground — as you can imagine they are very interested in Sylvari (as many of the Sanctum have probably never seen one!) and there are some pretty cool little interactions and lore titbits to sift through as you explore the massive airship (just don’t lean too far over the edge, it’s a bit of a drop!).
The Bazaar of the Four Winds features two new mini-games for your delectation (three if you count the Scavenger Hunt), one of which is a permanent addition:
Accessible by purchasing a Belcher’s Bluff starter kit from most bartenders across each of the major cities and the bazaar itself. Starter kits range from a single purchase (5s, 4c) to a purchase of 5 kits (10s) to an everlasting Belcher’s Bluff kit (100g!). It is an Omnomberry Juice drinking game whereby you must outwit and outdrink your opponent by drinking, bluffing, and healing strategically in order to maintain your health bar and outlast your opponent. The game can be played either against NPCs scattered across the land, or against other players in a PvP drink-off. Belcher’s Bluff is a permanent addition to the game.
Accessible only from Zephyr Sanctum (and so not accessible once the airship’s four-week stay is over), Sanctum Sprint is a Roller-beetle inspired race whereby you use variants of the movement skills you’ve learned on your trip up the Labyrinthine Cliffs to the airship to traverse obstacles, beat your opponents and reach the top of the mountain-top track first. Mario Kartesque power-ups are scattered across the track — gifting you either boosts to your current skills, protection from attacks or attack skills to use on your opponents (that is unless the power-up is a fake one placed by an opponent to slow you down). All those hours spent on Mario Kart will come in handy here.
This mini-game will have you exploring the far-flung reaches of the new zone. The various Aspect skills allow you to move freely about the Bazaar and the Sanctum — so ANet have hidden dozens of Sky Crystals at various hard-to-reach places across the zone. There is an achievement for collecting 40 of these crystals over the next 4 weeks – gaining this achievement nets you a neat little mini Zephyr Sanctum Airship.
This new material can be mined from various nodes across the sanctum, gained as rewards for completing the mini-games, as drops from various new reward chests and can even be obtained from your own personal node in your home instance if you complete the meta-achievement attached to the Bazaar of the Four Winds event.
In its raw form quartz cannot be used to craft anything — first you must power it up. We’ve all seen the various “Places of Power” across the world — marked, more often than not, with skill points. These places can now be used to power up your quartz ready for it to be used as a material for crafting. ANet have added in numerous new crafting recipes which utilise this new material, these can be obtained from the Zephyr Sanctum Supply Boxes available from merchants in the bazaar.
The merchants who have flooded to the bazaar after the Sanctum landed have a variety of exotic goods from across the globe to sell to you. Ingredients in bulk such as horseradish, nutmeg and ginger seem to be favourite merchandise but there is an intriguing new loot box available to you, if you have the right materials. The price for these boxes is, generally, a whole load of common crafting materials (the Zephyr Sanctum rarely land, so even the most common of materials may be in short supply to them). The Zephyr Sanctum Supply Box drops new quartz recipes, new weapon, armour and Suncatcher back piece skins (as seen below) as well as quartz itself.
But the real juicy new stuff comes from the new:
ANet wanted to start utilising the achievement points we’ve been racking up ever since we began hoarding items for the Hall of Monuments in Guild Wars 1. So, starting on Tuesday, we will be able to receive rewards for the achievement points we gain — ranging from new skins such as the Radiant and Hellfire Armour Skins seen below:
To the Zenith Weapon skins as seen below here:
And other gold, karma and laurel reward at various milestones:
You can even unlock permanent stat increases to non-combat stats such as %Magic Find, %Karma Reward and %Gold Find.
These rewards will be retroactively awarded, and can be reproduced for each character — so no worries about using a certain skin on one character and then regretting not having it for another. You do not “spend” your points either, the rewards are merely unlocked once you reach a milestone, so don’t worry about achievement points being yet another resource to be managed.
Alongside this new rewards system comes a new Achievement tab layout:
The summary page lists your available rewards, your applied account bonuses, and your recently and nearly completed achievements as well as your next milestone and current point total. Hovering over the upcoming chests at the top of the screen shows you the rewards you will receive once you reach the points total required. Drop-down menus separate the achievements into categories to change the increasingly unwieldy previous system into something much more manageable and actually hugely enjoyable to use. you’ll be working your tiny asuran touché off to grab those achievement points and light up those new categories.
Skyhammer is a map set in an asuran weapons testing facility deep in the desert. Notable features include:
- A multi-level system: the combat takes place across a number of levels, from floating platforms to low-lying tunnels. You traverse these floors through the use of electronic bouncers and gaping holes.
- Fragile Floors: a classic platforming trope, the disappearing floors in Skyhammer will only persist for a few seconds after you stand on them before they spark out of existence, try luring opponents over the platform for a satisfying kill.
- The Skyhammer itself: the pinnacle of asuran weapons technology, this gigantic cannon can be fired anywhere on the map (except the platform upon which it rests) and must be controlled from a terminal near the middle top of the map. The area of effect is massive and difficult to escape, strategic use of this resource can lead to victory or ruin
And that about entirely doesn’t wrap it up — there is so much more to explore at the Bazaar and aboard the Zephyr Sanctum Airship. So get yourself ready to jump in! Also be sure to check out our Living Story Primer to see who is running for Council!
From GuildMag — we want to thank ArenaNet for giving us the opportunity to experience this fantastic new update early and allowing us to bring it to you guys out there with this article and attached guides. Thanks in particular to Leif and Liz for showing us around the place at the ungodly hour of 7am PDT.