Players who miss the event will still get plenty of new content though, including a new dungeon called the Fractals of the Mists. This serves up a random set of small challenge worlds, with each successful completion ramping up the difficulty. There are bosses, like the shapeshifting Mossman and a huge jellyfish with devastating electric powers, and the Jade Maw – a Kraken-type beast that shows up on every sixth map. Just as much time is spent on challenges: capturing wisps and carrying them through a booby-trapped swamp, dodging Indiana Jones style rolling boulders in an active volcano, and surviving a trip through a dark underwater tunnel where straying from the light means instant death in the form of gnashing teeth and a cloud of red blood.
Guild Wars 2 wouldn’t be the first game to promise this kind of content infusion at launch, only to dry up later. It’s had a better start than most, though, with The Lost Shores coming hot on the trail of its Halloween update, and another event coming in December. Cartwright attributes this to the game’s general design, allowing for more freeform expansions and short-term events likeLostShores. “The structure of our tools and our team lets us break into smaller teams that lets us work on content two months ahead, three months ahead,” he tells us. “We really want to make sure we’re delivering an MMOG that feels like it’s constantly being supported.”
The catch, of course, is that an event like this can only work if the server handles the strain of everyone rushing to take part in the same fight. We’ll see on Sunday whether the Ancient Karka or more mundane login errors are the most dangerous foe. Cartwright is confident, however, that Guild Wars 2’s launch stumbles won’t be an issue here.
“Nothing ever prepares you for the onslaught of a live environment, and some of our services got tested and pushed to the max,” he admits. “[Now we’ve] fixed those up, we can easily put everyone in one place if we want to. We’re always tuning our technology and pushing it forward as much as we can to allow us to do really fun events. With a large number of players in there, it all seems to be running pretty smooth.”
The Lost Shores kicks off on Friday November 16 at 8pm GMT (9pm CET), with the Karka invasion. Players will be pointed to the event in game, but to make sure you can jump in, it starts by the western gate of Fort Marrinerin Lion’s Arch. Southsun Cove opens for invasion at the same time on Saturday 17, with the final battle kicking off 24 hours later on November 18. The Fractals Of The Mists Dungeon will also open during this time, along with the beta of a new PvP map, Temple Of The Silent Storm.
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