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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Guild Wars: Zaichen PvP changes

Brinstar reminded me that I never wrote much about the recent update to Tombs of the Primeval Kings. I did cover the basics but no more than that. Here's what changed for all the PvP game types.

As part of the Zaichen update, almost all the PvP content moved to an area which is intended to be shared between GW expansions called the Battle Isles. PvE characters can reach the Battle Isles via taking a ship from Lion's Arch. Before the Zaichen update, the PvP content consisted of:
  • Competitive Arenas (also called Random Arenas) - random teams in a 4v4 format. If you get more than 10 consecutive wins, you start playing against teams from Team Arena.
  • Low-level Arenas - random teams in a 4v4 format with level caps. The first one that everyone sees is normally Ascalon Arena.
  • Team Arena - prearranged teams in 4v4.
  • Guild vs. Guild - prearranged guild teams in a 8v8 format. Games are played on the guild hall map of the lower ranked guild.
  • Tombs of the Primeval Kings - prearranged teams of 8 in a tournament format. Small amount of PvE but mostly 8v8 PvP. Some maps have more than 2 teams. See the guide I linked yesterday for more details.
And here's what changed:
  • Competitive Arenas moved to the Battle Isles. A few new Arena maps were added including the flag-carrying Obelisk maps.
  • Low-level Arenas stayed where they are. I think. I must admit I'm not 100% sure since I never go in them - in my opinion, game balance isn't great for characters under 20th level.
  • Team Arena moved to the Battle Isles. The same new maps as CA's were added.
  • Guild Halls moved to the Battle Isles. The actual gameplay stayed basically the same with a couple of minor balance tweaks - now the Guild Lord eventually leaves his base at the 35 minute mark and heads to the flagstand.
  • Tombs of the Primeval Kings stayed on the map but now it's full of Lovecraftian tentacled monstrosities. If you can make it all the way to the bottom, the final bad guys drop some nice items.
  • New (kinda): Heroes Ascent, is the exact equivalent of the old Tombs. I haven't played it yet but as far as I know nothing actually changed. I'll trawl around and see if that's the case.
  • New: the Temple of Balthazar, provides a stopping off point to get to the Nameless Isles. The Nameless Isles provide tutorial stuff for PvP mechanics and some practice guys to beat on which can be very handy for trying skill combos and builds to see if they'll actually work. Talk to the Master of Paths to try your luck in the Training Arenas - and if you haven't played any PvP yet or you just tried random arenas and got crushed, I highly recommend this, it's a great way to learn the basics. As a bonus, you get faction for winning and kills in the Training Arenas even though you're playing against AIs.
  • New: the Zaichen Challenge, provides an opportunity for you to play against premade AI teams. Team selection works like Team Arena. The AI teams vary greatly in difficulty - generally the IWAY (I Will Avenge You) team is the hardest to beat. I'll probably write more about IWAY some other time, since it's the flavour of the month for tournament play.
  • New: the Zaichen Elites, which you can only reach by beating 5 different Zaichen Challenge teams with the same character. In the Zaichen Elites, the opposing teams are the same as in the Zaichen Challenge except that in each round you face a team with one more opponent and you don't choose which teams to fight. Team selection works like Team Arena.
Faction rewards in the new areas are a bit screwy - there's a cap of 1000 faction per character per day for playing against the AI teams. In addition, you don't earn faction for playing against Zaichen teams unless someone in your team hasn't beaten them before. If you didn't know, faction is extremely useful because you can cash it in for item and skill unlocks for PvP characters. A PvP character you create is able to access all the unlocked skills and items from any of your PvE characters together with any extra unlocks you bought with faction.

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