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Guild Wars 2: Last Stand at Southsun Preview

It may be less than a fortnight since we first started searching for the Secret of Southsun, but that hasn’t stopped ANet announcing another Guild Wars 2 expansion for the end of the month. If Last Stand at Southsun is any indication of how things are going to progress, the move to bi-weekly updates is going to do nothing to lower the amount of content we should expect.

Available from May 28th, this is one of the biggest Living Story updates yet. How much it will appeal to you depends entirely on how you play and who you play with.

Last Stand at Southsun

There are two new story components to The Last Stand at Southsun, and neither will be good news to those of you who found The Secret too multiplayer focussed. The new content includes a showdown against a series of large, deadly animals and a story-based dungeon. Neither will be playable alone, although the former will, at least, automatically draw other players. I’m sure even the most anti-social amongst us mind less the playing with others and more the annoying pre-dungeon sludge, where you must wait to find other players.

The reason the wildlife has increased its ferocity in Southsun has been revealed. The refugees who made it this far after their homes were destroyed have basically been used as slaves by the mysterious Consortium and one man wanted to turn that all around. Canach wanted to be the hero, the man who freed these people from their tyranny. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. He went too far, he put the monsters into a blind fury, and it’s only going to get worse.

He still thinks that this is the way forward, he’s still certain that he’s done the right thing. That’s where you come in. You’ll need to raid his base, along with your fellow players and the Lionguard’s Inspector Kiel, and shut down his horrible plan.

Now there’s a good chance that part of this will be available to be played in “single player,” like the third Frost and Flame update, but it’s definitely going to be a smoother experience with friends. To add to that, the area is very difficult, even though you’ve been scaled up, and that probably means any chance at single player is unlikely, if not out entirely by default.

The new dungeon isn’t the only Living Story addition to Last Stand, and in fact the more fun sounding portion of the update seems like it’ll be great. Canach’s ferocious animals are getting worse and are slowly taking more and more of the island. This includes the hulking beasts that initially only roamed the west side of the cove, but it looks like they’ll be making their move. This is going to be make moving around even more frustrating, and there will be a reliance on other players if you want to survive (or take part in the new events), but this is exactly what we should expect from the Living Story. There SHOULD be actual changes. There SHOULD be roaming creatures, there SHOULD be Tyria-shaking implications to both player and NPC actions within the Living Story.

So there’s an upside and a downside to that. More than just the monsters moving, there’s going to be a very specific creature added to the fray as well. Although information on that is vague, we know that on June 5th, a new huge monster will be released and it’s up to the player (all of them) to slow him down and save the settlement. Whether this will be a one time event, something that will take days to kill or if the outcome of this battle is final has yet to be revealed, but expect it all to work on US time anyway.

Either way, it’s awesome to see they’re finally adding a little bit of participation to the Living Story, and that it might, in a small way, finally live up to the Living part of its name.

World Vs World

If you thought the last update’s traps were going to change the way that World Vs World is played, you’re going to lose your mind this month. ANet have made some pretty big changes across the board, and there is no way that regular players are going to go unaffected.

There are new abilities which can be mastered and which are likely to change the tide of battle. More rewards for when you finally win. New equipment and new bonuses attached to that equipment. There’s a new system for actually setting up matches, designed to add more variety to who and where you might play.

Perhaps the biggest change comes from the updates to experience. You’ll now be earning experience for a wider range of activities. Hopefully this’ll mean you can earn those new abilities slightly quicker.

While it’s fantastic to see that they’re still supporting their online modes (and in spades as well), the more I read about the changes to World Vs World, the more worried I am that I’ll never be able to seriously participate. There are a wider variety of things to do yes, a better amount of things to unlock, but it’s just more to learn and people who have been there from the beginning are just going to wipe the floor with new players. Hopefully my fears are unfounded, and ANet have taken this into account with their design.

Other Changes

The developers have also announced that they’re making changes to the way the PvP beta is working. They’re expanding the abilities of those trying out spectator and custom arenas so that they can make matches longer if they choose. They’ve also said that they’re going to continue to iron out any bugs that might turn up.

You can also expect a few more Southsun rewards and exclusive items, so look out for them when you’re returning to run the new multiplayer dungeon or when you’re fighting off the new monster.

Conclusion

The Last Stand at Southsun is definitely more content-filled than previous updates, and it’ll give diehard players plenty to see and do. The new World Vs World content is going to give players a reason to return, while the new PvE content is designed to get everybody rushing to Southsun. While I’m still a little worried what this means for people who play the Living Story alone, it seems ANet are finally getting a grasp on what makes this special.

Although there’s nothing that stands out as really exciting to me this month, I can’t wait to see what the developers announce next. It’s really building up to something player-influenced and that’s something I think we can all get behind.

 

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